How to make a long shadow, flat icon using Gimp!

Flat icons are everywhere! I can see 15 of them on my desktop alone! And now I’m going to show you how to make one in Linux.

First launch Gimp. If you don’t have it installed already on Ubuntu just type in:

sudo apt-get install gimp

Once you have Gimp installed and have it open we will need the following windows:

  • Layers
  • Toolbox
  • Tool options
  • Colors

To add new windows go to Windows>>>Dockable Dialogs in the menu.

Okay, so now we have our setup like the picture below and we need to make a new document for the icon.

Blank gimp layout

To make a new document go to File>>New.

Make the width and height both 750 pixels – we can scale it down later. And click OK.

Next take the rectangle tool from the toolbox. Then put your mouse on the corner of the white square and drag it diagonally to the opposite corner. Next, in the tool options window click on rounded corners. Then set the radius slider to 100.

Now pick the paint bucket tool from the toolbox.

Next using the colors window, pick a color. For this demonstration, I will use blue. Once you have a color picked, and you have selected the paint bucket tool, just click on the rounded rectangle.

Gimp

The next step is to find a symbol that is free to use. One of my favorite places to look is Google’s material design icon library or materialdesignicons.com and combine a few. I’m going to make an icon of a computer connected to WIFI so I’m going to go the material design library and find a few symbols.

Now that I have my icons, it’s time to put it all together! Go back to Gimp and under File go to ‘Open As Layers’. Then select the symbol you downloaded.

Gimp

Now in the layer window right click on the layer that was just created (it’s called whatever the image name was) and click scale layer. And type in whatever size you feel appropriate. Do the same thing on another layer if you uploaded multiple symbols.

Gimp

Now it’s time for the long shadow! We must take the lasso select tool from the toolbox and make a tracing of part of the image. Refer to the image below.

Gimp

Zoom in onto the picture, there are more lines than you think

To select an area (as shown above) click on the corner of the symbol (in mine it is the yellow mark). But remember to take a look at the ruler on top and remember the position (in mine it is 3 lines past 500). Now move your mouse off of the symbol but keep it inline with the edge of the icon, then click. Next, move your mouse to under the first mark or to the coordinate that we noted earlier and click. Now move your mouse over to the other corner of the icon and click. Then trace the edge of the drawing by making these straight segments by clicking. But remember not to do it fully! Once you reach the first mark, click on it. Now take the paint bucket tool, select black in the color window and in the tool options window and make the opacity slider 35. Next, click on the selected area. And voila! You’ve made a long shadow flat icon!

Bonus

To make the shadow fade into the background, undo the last step and take the blend tool, making sure that the opacity is set to anywhere from 30-35, and press and hold from the bottom right corner of the symbol to the bottom right corner of the icon.

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Zorin OS 10 Lite and Business

Zorin OS 10 Lite and Business were released today. The Lite edition is 32 bit specialized and the business edition is the same as Core but with more software and a 9 euro price tag.

Mint 17.2 Rafaela XFCE Edition and KDE edition

The developers of the Ubuntu based distro Linux Mint have released two new versions of Mint. Now in addition to the Mate and Cinnamon desktops you can get KDE and XFCE as your default desktop.

KDE News

The update includes

  • a new login preferences setting
  • better UEFI support
  • Better support for Nvidia and Optimus cards
  • Bash history is better and autocompletion is also better in the terminal
  • More wallpapers! Including wallpapers from many past releases

But the one thing that will stop me from switching is the fact that it will be preinstalled with KDE 4.14.2 and Kernel 3.16! As you might know I like living on cutting edge software, hence my liking for Arch and Fedora.

Linux Mint KDE

Linux Mint KDE (Image from blog.linuxmint.com)

You can see the release notes here.

XFCE News

The update includes

  • The newest version of XFCE
    • The panel can now intelligently hide itself
    • Each workspace can now use a new wallpaper
    • Improvements for Thunar
    • A huge update for task manager
    • Imgur support for screenshots
    • XFburn can now burn blue-ray
    • The weather plugin got a design update
  • You can now browse PPAs
  • You can now downgrade packages
  • Language settings were redesigned
  • login screen settings improvements

And the rest is the same as KDE.

XFCE Linux Mint (image taken from blog.linuxmint.com)

XFCE Linux Mint (image taken from blog.linuxmint.com)

You can see the release notes here.

Korora 22 Review and Installation Guide

Fedora’s always been a popular distro but it’s never had the reputation of being a plug & play distro with lots of codecs and software. That’s what Korora is trying to fix. Korora is a spin on Fedora with the idea that the users do little or no work after the distro is installed.

Korora is a very diverse Desktop wise. It comes in MATE, Cinnamon, Gnome, KDE, and Xfce. For this review, I’m going to be using my personal favorite, KDE.

KDE desktop with breeze dark

KDE desktop with Korora icons and Breeze Dark theme

Korora was born out of a desire to make Linux easier for new users, while still being useful for experts.

Originally based on Gentoo Linux in 2005, Korora was re-born in 2010 as a Fedora Remix1 with tweaks and extras to make the system “just work” out of the box.

Why Fedora? Lots of reasons!

Comparison to Fedora

Korora is a Fedora Remix, meaning it ships packages from the default Fedora repositories but also a number of other packages (often ones that Fedora cannot ship directly). We also make changes to the default system, whereas Fedora generally sticks to upstream. For new users, Fedora can be tricky because it doesn’t include many of the extras that users often need, things like media codecs and some proprietary software. This is one area where Korora can help.

Ultimately, we want people just like you to become useful members of the Fedora community and we hope that trying Korora will be a catalyst for this.

For a detailed look at how Korora differs to Fedora, see What’s Inside.

Whats New

Cinnamon 2.6

MATE 1.10

GNOME 3.16

KDE Plasma 5

Xfce 4.12

DNF

Fedora 22 base

Installation

You can get Korora 22 here (You have to select your flavor). After you have the ISO image (Weather by torrent or http) you have to burn it onto a DVD or a Flash Drive. In this tutorial we will use a DVD. A good image burning software on Linux is Brasero. After you have burned the disk, you have to boot from it. Next, insert your disk into your computer and power down. Then power up again and go into BIOS. Once there, select boot from DVD (Note: all BIOS are different based on your motherboard). You should now be booting into Korora! Korora uses Fedora’s Anaconda installer and they have a guide for installing, which you might want to check out here.

The installer should look somewhat like this.

The installer should look like this.

Personally, my install went without a hitch, other than the fact that it took about 1 hour after I set everything up. But bear in mind that I have used the Anaconda installer numerous times before and the amount of software that this distro comes with is huge.

The Desktop

As noted before, I chose KDE for my desktop environment. When you first boot up, you should see a welcome menu like this. It has links to all the changes, help and forums.

Welcome Dialouge

Welcome Dialouge

If you’ve ever used Fedora KDE you would recognize the look to be nearly the same! But it is quite different from OpenSUSE KDE or Manjaro KDE.

The Korora Menu

The Korora Menu

The desktop is very simple, with just two icons, but it has the standard very crazy KDE 5 wallpaper.

Korora Settings

Note: These settings depend highly on your environment.

Settings in korora

Settings Panel

All the settings are stored here.

Pre-Installed Software

Some of the software that is included by default on KDE.

  • Kdiff3
  • Help
  • Kstars
  • GnuOctave
  • Kalgebra
  • Cantor
  • Kalzium
  • Kalgebra Mobile
  • Rocs
  • Kturtle
  • Kgeography
  • Step
  • Blinken
  • Ktouch
  • Marble
  • Kmplot
  • Kig
  • Kbruch
  • Kwordquiz
  • Khangman
  • Kiten
  • Klettres
  • Kanagram
  • Parley
  • KMahjong
  • Kpatience
  • Kmines
  • AquireImages
  • DNGconverter
  • Okular
  • Libre Draw
  • Expoblending
  • Font Manager
  • GIMP
  • Scanlite
  • Gwenview
  • KoulorPaint
  • Panorama
  • Photo Layouts Editor
  • DigiKam
  • Showfoto
  • Camso
  • Ksnapshot
  • Inkscape
  • Darktable
  • KcolorChooser
  • Kruler
  • Ktorrent
  • Kget
  • Akregator
  • Konversation
  • Linphone
  • Kmail
  • Knetattach
  • Knode
  • KRDC
  • FireFox
  • Konquerer
  • AMZdownloader
  • Amarok
  • Kid3
  • Ksc3
  • K3B
  • VLC
  • Handbrake
  • Record My Desktop
  • Audactity
  • Kdenlive
  • Kmix
  • DragonPlayer

And that was only about a third of all the preinstalled software!

As you can see Korora definitely comes with a good selection of software! Korora really goes by its word for not needing any more additional packages or software after installation! Korora is fedora for the user who doesn’t want to start with a base system.

Zorin OS 10

Zorin OS was released earlier today with a handful of changes including a redesigned Zorin theme changer (GTK changer), new icons based off of the beautiful Elementary icon set and the Freesans desktop font. Zorin now comes with the Geary mail client, a new media player, a new calendar app and an activity journal “which lets you see the files and documents you have worked with based on duration and the time throughout the day”. The existing apps have been treated with bug fixes and design updates. The long awaited theme changer update adds more customization with the ability to chose the foreground color and background color. The options for foreground colors are red, green, blue and orange and you can choose between a light and a dark foreground. Zorin OS 10 is now based of off Ubuntu 15.04 and has Linux kernel 3.19 and systemd for hardware support improvements. Currently only the Core and Ultimate versions are available but Business and Lite versions will be added soon. Zorin OS 10 will get security updates until January, so if that is an important factor for you consider Zorin OS 9 which will be supported until April of 2019. You can get Zorin OS here.

Best office suite for Linux

Office suites are a highly debated topic in Linux and finding the right one for you can be tough. In this article I will be comparing two of the biggest: Libre Office and Calligra.

Lets start out with the apps in the suite. Calligra has many more apps for a more diverse experience, whereas Libre packs the punch in six focused apps plus a hub which puts all of your recent documents and templates together in one app. The apps that Libre come with are:

  • Writer (Word processor)
  • Calc (Spreadsheets)
  • Impress (Linear presentations)
  • Draw (Drawings)
  • Math (Formula)
  • Base (Data Base)
Libre office hub

Libre Office app. All recent files apear on the right

Personally my favorite is Calligra because it is very customizable (Not surprising, it being a KDE app) compared to the only customization feature on Libre, Extensions. But anyway most extensions are very old and not usable on newer versions of Libre. The apps that Calligra come with are:

  • Braindump (Sort of like a drawing app but is meant to “dump and organize the content of your brain [ideas, drawings, images, texts…] to your computer… It works by allowing to create and edit whiteboards, which are infinite canvas on which you can add texts, images, charts, drawings”)
  • Flow (Flow charts)
  • Karbon (Vector art)
  • Kexi (Data base)
  • Krita (Sketching and painting)
  • Plan (Project management)
  • Stage (Linear presentations)
  • Sheets (Spreadsheets)
  • Words (Word proccesor)

What I don’t like about Libre are the toolbars. I feel everything is jumbled up and icons don’t even align!. However in Calligra it uses a vertical arrangement, like a sidebar and a toolbar. Plus you can add panels, icons, toolbar shortcuts and so on.

Calligra Words with its sidebar

Calligra Words with its sidebar

Word processor

One of the main apps in an office suite is the word processor. So lets check ’em out!

One of the first things that you notice when you open the apps up is that Calligra presents me with options of templates. Secondly, Calligra uses system icons and GTK but Libre does not. Another thing is that without the vertical bar the menus where very crowded on Libre whereas in Calligra the menus are very small and more friendly because all of the settings are in the toolbar or the vertical menu. Also I found it very annoying to use Libre, because you are constantly in menus trying to find things. The only major con for Calligra is that you can’t use it very well in half screen mode because of the sidebar using up so much space.

Libre complex menus

Libre with its own icons and complex menus

Spreadsheets

If you are anything like me and are always dealing with spreadsheets, this app is another very important one for you.

The layout of the apps aren’t much different and all the pros and cons carry over. Another thing I noticed was that in Calligra everything was labeled so it was easy to find, whereas in Libre there were only icons, except in the top menu bar.

Presentation

Slide shows apps are a staple of office suites so why not compare them?

When opening up Calligra I find a massive amount of templates to chose from. One thing that is very visible is a sidebar on Libre Impress. It holds layouts, animations and more. Another thing was that with Calligra I could just start making a slide show but in Libre it was quite hard for me to understand what to do.

Drawing

How can I explain how much Calligra wins this. Calligra has 3 drawing apps compared to one app in Libre.

I think by what I have shown you Calligra is a much better office suite.

EDIT: Calligra does have a hub sort of thing called Gemini but it seems to be quite buggy. It only supports presentations and text documents. But instead of launching Words or Stage it launches it in Gemini. From what I can see the Gemini version is identical.

Ubuntu 15.10 Alpha 2!

Ubuntu 15.10 Alpha 2 was released today for Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and Ubuntu Kylin! After testing for the day on a live DVD I haven’t found any major bugs. The one change that I can see from 15.04 to 15.10 is the removal of AbiWord and Gimp. Alpha 2 is running version 4.12 of XFCE. Firefox is still on version 38. Only once so far my computer has crashed and that was when playing music in Chrome on Pandora and configuring a network at the same time.

You can get the latest nightly builds at http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/daily-live/current/

Screenshot_2015-07-30_23-31-41

Xubuntu 15.10 live running alongside my Manjaro machine