Screencasting on Linux – recordMyDesktop

Doing a basic screencast in Linux is pretty easy. The package recordMyDesktop can be found easily on the repository of many Linux distros (including Ubuntu 9.04 that I use).

With this package you’re actually getting the backend recordMyDesktop which is written in C and the frontend developed in Python (gtk-recordMyDesktop or qt-recordMyDesktop).

The feature list is simple but that is all I needed for a quick screencast demo I had to prepare this afternoon:

  • record the entire screen or just a specific window;
  • record audio (with channel and frequency settings);
  • adjust fps;
  • include mouse pointer, “follow the mouse” recording, include window decoration (or not), and tooltips.

gtk-recordmydesktop

The closing added bonus, it records directly in theora / vorbis!

Recording is done with a simple click on the “record” button and than on the panel you’ll see an icon where you can quickly pause, resume and stop the recording. Easy and simple.

Using Twitter with Pidgin

The eco-system around Pidgin is fantastic, below is yet another cool plug-in tip for it.

Pidgin-Twitter plug-in works with Linux and Windows for you to get back into posting to and receiving notes from Twitter (also works well with Identi.ca too!). Steps to get it working:

  1. download and install the plug-in the plug-in;
  2. go to Pidgin menu under Tools > Plug-ins you’ll find Pidgin-Twitter to activate and configure;
  3. place your username / password and define a couple of other options (such as show users’ avatars)
  4. Add a buddy to your GTalk account called twitter@twitter.com and choose to display it even when it is offline.

You’re good to go! Open the chat window for the buddy you just created and instantly it’ll display your messages.

Abiword – multi platform word processor

After a recent exchange of ideas about Abiword on identi.ca, I decided to take a closer look at it again. Although OpenOffice is currently my office suite of choice, it is a bit bloated and slow. So, what does Abiword have to offer?

abiword1

  • It is blazing fast;
  • works in Windows and Linux;
  • has all the main text editing and formatting functions one needs;
  • saves and imports documents in multiple formats (Abiword’s own formats, .doc, .odf, .html, .rtf, .pdf, .docx, LaTeX, Kword and xml);
  • has revision control;
  • has spell checker and thesaurus built-in;
  • and, has a plug-in architecture to improve its list of features even more!

abiword-tools

It even has a collaboration function so you can share your document through Jabber or TCP connection (I haven’t tested it).

I have tried Abiword before but to be honest I didn’t know it had this many features. For this review I can say there are a couple of tools I might miss when collaborating a document with others, such as being able to track and manage document changes and notes.

Overall I really liked Abiword and will seriously think about using it more often.

Ubuntu 9.04 released!

The newest version of our beloved Linux distro Ubuntu was released on April 21st. Code named Jaunty Jackalope, Ubuntu 9.04 desktop edition brings some nice features:

  • finally OpenOffice 3.0.1 installed;
  • Gnome 2.26 with some improvements for multiple monitors setups, Empathy (multi-protocol instant messenger), Evolution (email client now with MS Exchange support), Volume manager (now integrated with PulseAudio);
  • X.Org server 1.6 to improve support for some 3D video cards;
  • new notification alert system specially designed for Ubuntu;
  • Linux kernel 2.6.28 with ext4 file system support;

I’ve been using Ubuntu almost exclusively for about 2 years now. The improvements made since that time have been enormous and this release although not ground breaking has brought some very nice improvements.

On my desktop (the computer I’m using now to write this post) I just did a distro upgrade and with one click of a button the entire system took care of the entire procedure by itself. I left the computer on overnight but the reason it took so long was that most likely the Ubuntu servers and mirrors are extremely busy.

Now I’m already looking forward to Ubuntu 9.10 in October 🙂

Top podcasts & vidcasts

Sharing with you my list of Linux and Open Source podcasts and vidcasts I subscribe to:

  • FLOSS Weekly (podcast) – part of the Twit.tv world, excellent interviews with leaders of different FLOSS projects;
  • Linux Outlaws (podcast) – this show is quite informal but has very nice comments on what’s new on the Linux and FLOSS world;
  • Stack Overflow (podcast) – more geared towards programming and software development;
  • The Linux Journal (vidcast) – short but very nice Linux tips;
  • Category 5 (vidcast) – a lot of good information for those starting in the world of Linux with live Q&A session;
  • The Source (vidcast) – just started following it and so far I’ve seen some very nice interviews with important community members of the open source world.

Any suggestions from our readers?

Project Management

GanttProject is currently what I’m using for my project management duties. Why?

  • it is multi-platform (works on Windows, Linux, and MacOS X);
  • simple to use;
  • open source;
  • allows me to manage well dependencies, resources and milestones.

ganttproject-house-building-sample

The main drawback is that it is Java based so a bit slower to run than other native programs.

Transfer files through ftp with FileZilla

Throughout my blogging years and web experiences Filezilla has been of great use. The Filezilla client allows transfering of files through FTP, FTPS, and SFTP. Actually, you can also delete files on your server or rename them.

It runs nicely on Windows, Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, and you can run it through a USB drive with Portable Apps.

If you prefer to run something similar on your Firefox, you may also try out FireFTP.

By the way, get an FTP client from time to time and download all of the server files to make sure you have a safely secured backup. 🙂

Colonization gaming – FreeCol

FreeCol is an open source clone of the Colonization game. I admit, during college I was a bit addicted to this game, my style of strategy gaming.

For those who are not familiar, this is a strategy game where your objective is to Colonize the entire world with your nationality. So, you build your cities, grow them, build an army and expand your borders. Sounds pretty simple but for people like me, fun stuff to do for hours and hours.

FreeCol isn’t yet on its full release version yet, it is still on 0.7.4 about to release v.0.8. But, from the looks it is working pretty well. It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.