Sunday, April 13, 2014

HOWTO: Stream to Chromecast

I recently picked up a Chromecast and one of the things I was looking for was to stream from my laptop to my TV using the device. Thankfully setting this setup is fairly simple thanks to the aide of the TCast Chrome plugin.

Step 0 - Install Chrome/Chromium

Streaming to the Chromecast from your PC currently requires a Chrome based browser. Install either Google Chrome or Chromium.

Step 1 - Install Google Cast and TCast Extensions

Select each of the addon links below and add them to your browser:

Step 2 - Enable Streaming from your Channel of Choice

Open the stream URL you want to cast to your Chromecast. Play your stream and then click the Chromecast button underneath the video player. You will then see the following appear over your stream:

Next, click the Chromecast icon in the upper right hand corner of your browser and select the Chromecast device you want to stream to:

Your Chromecast should then take a minute to load up the stream and then it should soon be playing! In your browser page you will then see the following screen from which you can adjust the stream quality and play/pause the stream:

And you are all set - enjoy streaming twitch on your Chromecast device! Have any questions or issues please feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to help.

I've only tested the above instructions on my Linux based PC, but these extensions should work on any platform that supports Chrome/Chromium.

~Jeff Hoogland

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Enlightenment Foundation Libraries Application Round Up

Most folks who have been around Linux and/or open source software for awhile are aware of what GTK and QT are - tool kits for building applications. Something that not as many may be aware of is that there is another open source tool kit out there - the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries. These serve as the building blocks not only for the Enlightenment desktop, but also for a growing number of applications.

Today I am going to provide a quick round up of applications written utilizing the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries.

System Tools -

Terminology brings "fun" back to the terminal while still being plenty practical. Supporting split panes and slew of other nice features it is stable and fast.

A simple, but functional, lightweight GUI front end for the Connman connection manager. Supports wired and wireless connections.

A simple graphical tool for the sudo command. Supports the same functions as similar tools such as gksudo. Also supports direct integration with other python EFL applications.

A tool for displaying information about the hardware in your computer. Supports exporting the formation collected to a text file.

eCcess provides a few different functions. It is a GUI for managing users on the current OS and assigning/removing group permissions. It can change the current date and time and finally it provides a simple task manager.

Similar to gDebi, eDeb allows the user to install Debian package files using a GUI.

A tool for installing package updates on apt-get based systems.

Multimedia Applications - 

Utilities -

Games -

Escape from Booty Bay (Angry Birds Clone)

Wrapping Up -

Hopefully I've introduced you to some new wonderful applications today! Most of this software is fairly new though, so sadly many of them will not have packages in many Linux distribution's repositories. You can however find every application listed here in the Bodhi 3.0.0 repos (or you can add this repo to your Ubuntu 14.04 install).

If you know of an awesome EFL based application that I haven't included here today - please let us know what it is - and where to find it - in the comments below.

~Jeff Hoogland

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Introducing eepDater - GUI for Apt-Get Package Updates

One of the things I am working on for our Bodhi 3.0.0 release this summer is a simple GUI system update tool written in Elementary and the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries. Today I would like to share an early version of this tool I am calling eepDater (pronounced epp-date-er), which is written in python utilizing the EFLs.

eepDater provides a very simple, but functional, GUI for selecting which package updates you'd like to install on your computer via apt-get:

You can simply check the box for the updates you'd like to install and then hit the apply button. Hitting refresh will check for package updates:

One thing worth noting is that eepDater does not include any code for escalation of privileges for installing software. This means you should launch it with something such as eSudo.

If you are using at least Bodhi 3.0.0 you can install eepDater on your system with the command:

sudo apt-get install eepdater

For anyone else out there, you can find the eepDater source code on GitHub here.

Have any questions or suggestions feel free to drop them below! Keep in mind though this tool is intended to be simple by design.

~Jeff Hoogland

Friday, March 7, 2014

HOWTO: Add Bodhi's Enlightenment Desktop to Ubuntu 14.04

One question we often had users ask us in the past was if it was possible to convert an existing Ubuntu LTS install into Bodhi Linux. Previously the answer to this question had always been "No", but with our 3.0.0 release built on top of Ubuntu 14.04 we are finally looking to change this. The following is how you can add the latest Bodhi desktop to your existing Ubuntu 14.04 install.

Step 1: Add the Bodhi Repo to your Sources

Open a terminal and run:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

At the bottom of the file that is opened, add the line: trusty main 

Step 2: Sync package lists

Next you will need to sync your package lists with the command:

sudo apt-get update

Step 3: Install the Bodhi Desktop

Install the Bodhi Desktop with the command:

sudo apt-get install bodhi-desktop

After this completes an "enlightenment" session should now be available in your login manager.

Step 4 (optional): Add Econnman/Connman

Bodhi's default network tool for the 3.x.y release is Econnman. To replace your existing network manager with Econnman run:

sudo apt-get install econnman connman

Enjoy your new enlightenment powered Ubuntu!

~Jeff Hoogland

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Buying Chromebooks for their Hardware, not their OS

I've kind of been on a Chromebook kick lately. Last month I posted a review of the Acer C720 I picked up recently, to summarize: I really love the device.

I think computers like Chromebooks are the way of the future, but not because of their operating system - because of their hardware. Relatively low cost laptops with SSDs for storage and an insane battery life are everything I want in a computer.

I liked the hardware specs of the Acer C720 so much, I've decided to replace not only my old netbook with a Chromebook - but I've replaced my primary work laptop with one as well. I picked up an HP 14" Chromebook this past weekend which has identical hardware specs to the Acer C720, while providing an even longer battery life:

Since I started posting about these laptops and my work with Bodhi Linux on them I've had piles of Linux users ask me why I am buying Chromebooks with the intent of running something other than ChromeOS on them.

This question is VERY hypocritical.

Some even go so far as to recommend "traditional" laptops that would have been a better choice. Guess what operating system these traditional laptops come with? You guessed it: Windows! Buying a Chromebook with the intent of installing a different Linux distribution on it is no different than purchasing a Windows laptop with the same intention.

Well, I guess it is a small bit different. You see - when I buy a Chromebook not only am I not paying a Windows tax for my hardware, but I am getting a laptop with a sleek form factor that gets an amazing battery life. To get these things from a Windows PC you generally have to pay a giant premium.

In closing, if you are in the market for some sleek Linux hardware at a low cost I would highly recommend checking out the Acer C720 or the HP 14" Chromebooks.

~Jeff Hoogland

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bodhi Linux 3.0.0 Alpha Release

As promised I've put together our first Bodhi Linux disc that is built on top of the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 release. Keep in mind this is a very early image not intended for production machines. There will be issues.

That being said, we are very interested in user feedback on our first couple pre-release discs for this version. Because we have a new major release we are trying a few different things that we want your input of. Features of note in this 3.0.0 alpha image that different from our Bodhi 2.x.y base:
  • Ubuntu 14.04 base
  • E19 pre-release replaces E17
  • No more manual profile/theme selection at start up
  • eConnman replaces nm-applet
  • Pulseaudio replaces alsa as the default audio system
  • Matrilineare replaces MaXo-Remix as the default icon set
  • LightDM replaces LXDM as the display manager
  • eSudo replaces gksudo
A few screenshots:

Login Screen

Default Desktop


The best place to give feedback regarding this release is in our 3.0.0 pre-release forum section. Let us know what you think about these changes or let us know if you have suggestions for improvement. For this first release I've only prepared a 32bit PAE enabled ISO image. Starting with our beta release next month we will provide a non-PAE, PAE and 64bit disc image like we do for all official releases.

Also - don't forget you still have until the end of this month to donate and be entered in our Chromebook raffle!

~Jeff Hoogland

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Improvements to Bodhi's Chromebook Support

Just a quick update to let folks know about a few updates our special installers for Bodhi Linux on Chromebook hardware.

Acer C720 Chromebook

I've updated the special ISO image for the Acer C720 which I give instructions for installing here. Updates to the disc include fully functional suspend, automatic audio switching over HDMI, and an E17 profile that enables all the function keys on the Chromebook to work as expected:

You will note in my screen shot above that there is also a bluetooth icon on the system tray. I've opted not to include this by default because I know many won't have a need for it. If you want to use the bluetooth on your C720 simply run the command:

sudo apt-get install blueman

And then use the GUI that is installed to connect to/interact with your blue tooth devices.

Samsung ARM Chromebook

Find instructions for installing Bodhi on the Samsung ARM Chromebook here. While I was busy implementing many improvements to the Debian Wheezy based ARM file system, one of our forum members had been working on a Debian Jessie based file system. Late last month he finished it up to essentially get the hardware fully functional under a true Linux OS! 

When you run our installer script you are now asked if you want to use the stable or testing release - I would highly recommend selecting the testing release at this point. It includes the same Chromebook specific profile I pictured above for the Acer as well as full OpenGLES support. 

The installer script now provides detection for a previous install on the target disc and over writes it (as opposed to making the user manually remove their old install). Another new feature of the installer is support for different install targets. Simply provide the install target as the first argument for the installer script and you can easily run Bodhi on your Samsung Chromebook from a USB flash drive or SD card.

HP 14 and Lenovo X131e

Also - nothing for these guys yet, but I am hoping to pick up an HP 14 sometime this week and get Bodhi going on it. Our same team member who did all of the wonderful improvements to the Jessie filesystem for the Samsung recently picked up a Lenovo X131e and has started work on dual booting this with Bodhi. I will post updates about these when we have something substantial to share.

Wrapping Up

As always, if you run into any issues please open a support request on our user forums as opposed to posting a comment below.

~Jeff Hoogland