29 February 2020

Productivity software I like to install after upgrading to Lubuntu 19.10

I installed Lubuntu 19.10 and copied over my old /home/user from my 19.04 system.

Now I need to reinstall some software, so it's good to revisit and update my old migration notes.


In Summary...

I like to:

add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa

apt-get install restic chrony file-roller gedit xournal evince nomacs graphicsmagick ghostwriter emacs gimp gimp-plugin-registry gimp-gmic default-jdk gcc make ttf-mscorefonts-installer ruby libsecret-1-0 libsecret-1-dev

sudo make --directory=/usr/share/doc/git/contrib/credential/libsecret
git config --global credential.helper /usr/share/doc/git/contrib/credential/libsecret/git-credential-libsecret


snap install code --classic
snap install aws-cli --classic

Note: ttf-mscorefonts-installer requires user interaction to install, so don't walk away from it overnight thinking everything will be done by morning.

Then install by hand Chrome, Netbeans, and LibreOffice dictionaries etc.

Oh, for chrony, I like to also have added to /etc/chrony/chrony.conf : server time.apple.com iburst because where I am it's hard to get to a time server except Apple's.

See more info about each below.


Software to Download and Install by Hand

The default package manager using the default Ubuntu software sources are pretty good at keeping up with the versions.  I like doing that most of the time to reduce on maintenance.

Some things are worth the manual install though.

1. LibreOffice is at 6.4, but the default installed version is currently only 6.3.  Small difference but 6.4 is a good update!  Actually, you don't need to download and install manually.  Just add this PPA to get the freshest version by doing sudo add-apt-repository ppa:libreoffice/ppa and using your package manager to upgrade.
  • LibreOffice has a extension I rely on a lot:  MultiFormatSave.  Let's me save a document to multiple format at the same time, great for supporting MS Office compatibility.

    Unfortunately, it has a compatibility issue or something for me right now.  Haven't tracked down how to fix it yet but I found a workaround.

     
  • And of course, it needs a dictionary for spell checking.  For English, I found these dictionaries from LibreOffice.


  • also found this setting useful to prevent previews of recent documents on the start screen, which is quite a privacy blunder:
    • Tools > Options > LibreOffice > Advanced > Open Expert Configuration > Search for RecentDocsThumbnail property > toggle to false
2. Google Chrome is self-updating.  I prefer Firefox but anyway, sometimes you need it.

3. Apache NetBeans.  This requires as a dependency the Java JDK at least version 8.
  • So use muon to install the default-jdk because the default is version 11, which works fine so far.

  • And get the "Maven Remote Search" plugin before Netbeans starts downloading and extracting the maven index that's apparently more than 1 GB in size (froze my computer since I have very little disk space...).
4.  VS Code.
  • There's a snap package for it.  And in Lubuntu 19.10, the Discover software manager lets you search and install snap apps so install it from there.

Time Clock Auto Update Synchronization Problem

Lubuntu uses by default timedatectl as the tool for setting time including synchronization via NTP Network Time Protocol.  It doesn't seem to have much manual controls though, like forcing an update.

You could instead use chrony.

See Keep Your Clock Sync with Internet Time Servers in Ubuntu 18.04  and Ubuntu Docs on Time Synchronization.

It lets you do things like chronyc sources to see the currently available and selected time sources.  Perhaps your network is blocking NTP updates?

Or chronyc sourcestats to see your clock's time offset from the various NTP sources.

You could do a single time offset check, without setting the time: sudo chronyd -Q

Or manually force a time synchronization with: sudo chronyd -q

Oh, and I like to have added to /etc/chrony/chrony.conf : server time.apple.com iburst because where I am it's hard to get to a time server except Apple's.


Screen Saver Lock Screen Madness

Looks like the upgrade preserved my old settings, because it's madness:

There are at least 3 places to set the screen saver / lock screen / sleep settings:
  1. Preferences > LXQt Settings > Session Settings
  2. Preferences > LXQt Settings > Power Management
  3. Preferences > Screensaver
They seem to interact with each other, and each has slightly other settings and uses.

My default Screensaver sometimes ran the CPU real hot, so maybe set that to something less energy intensive first.  I used Deco with settings to reduce framerates.

I'd suggest using Screensaver purely for setting the screensaver and when it turns on.

Set when the screen locks using Power Management (Idle tab).

Use the Session Settings to set whether the screen locks before suspending the OS (I think it defaults to locking after suspending).


Microsoft Fonts

Install ttf-mscorefonts-installer.  Some instructions for this but it's straightforward from the package manager.  Just use sudo apt install ttf-mscorefonts-installer.


File compression archiver tool

The default Ark works fine, but when compressing folders, it likes to compress the entire directory tree from root down to the folder you actually want to compress.  There must be a setting for it in Ark but I can't find it.

So just install file-roller instead from the muon package manager.  The default file explorer PCManFM-Qt has a preferences option to integrate with file-roller instead as well for ease of use.


Markdown editor

I like Ghostwriter so far.  And it could even be installed from the default muon package manager.  Even better!


Basic graphics editing

The default graphics viewer LXImage is actually a bit of a pain to use, especially coming from Mac Preview, which really has a great mix of UI, UX, and editing features for graphics and PDFs...

There's no equivalent to Apple's Preview, but for graphic files, nomacs Image Lounge is pretty good.  nomacs has a UI UX reminiscent of Preview, and has some basic graphics editing features too.


Little more graphics editing features

The default graphics viewer LXImage has some annotation tools, I guess, but nothing more.  nomacs has some more graphics editing features, but I sure miss the Mac Preview tool.

Anyway, ImageMagick or the more updated GraphicsMagick fork is quite useful (but beware it has a very... historic?... dated?... GUI).  It can be installed via the muon package manager, but it doesn't seem to install a default app launcher icon --- well, it's meant to be used from the terminal, but I like to deal with the GUI.

So I added a blank file to ~/.local/share/applications called "GraphicsMagic display.desktop" with the following text saved to it:

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Name=GraphicsMagick display
Comment=GraphicsMagick display
Exec=/usr/bin/gm display %F
Icon=lximage-qt
Categories=Graphics;Viewer;RasterGraphics;2DGraphics;Photography;
Type=Application
MimeType=image/jpeg
Terminal=false

Now you can use it like LXImage (in fact, it uses the LXImage icon because, why not?).

If I need more intensive graphics editing, I'll use GIMP.


Backup

For file backup, restic looks great and is available via muon package manager.


Remember Git passwords securely

Git is great.  Remember Git passwords securely is even better.  Requires manual install though.

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