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Lightweight systems need lightweight desktops. XFCE was once the favourite lightweight environment for many, then it grew larger. It might still consume less resources than its heavier siblings, but it keeps adding so many more features that some now say it’s bloated. Then there is LXDE, LXQt, and razor Qt, which are all excellent choices but not as light as fluxbox or openbox. While the former selection offers more usability on the expense of marginally more resource consumption, the latter can feel clunky and alien to use. Lumina takes the middle ground. It is super-light, user-friendly and very customisable.Installation
For installation instructions, it is best to visit the Lumina website to select the most suitable scenario.User Interface
When you first log in, you will find a plain desktop with a single top panel and an oddly-placed calendar widget.
There is no start menu, but you will see a “user” button. To the right, there is a clock, and the so-called “system dashboard,” from which a volume controller, a battery status indicator, a workspace switcher, a locale switcher and a logout button are visible.
which will make the calendar grow a title bar, then moving it wherever you like or getting rid of it entirely. Once you find the preferred location, the desktop can be locked again.Menu
You can have favourite places, applications and files stored here which shows immediate usage potential.
The last section is Desktop Preferences, which offers Desktop Configuration (which is basically Lumina configuration, also accessible from a terminal by typing lumnina-config), Screen configuration (for multiple monitors, screen sizes, etc.), and XScreensaver config.
In Desktop Configuration you can change the system appearance and behaviour. A nice touch is the built-in wallpaper rotator that works right out of the box. The theme selector offers a few weird-looking colour schemes by default.
Themes can be customized. The settings panel enables the user to edit the template’s CSS, which means the desktop can be turned into whatever you like (or are capable of).
The Panels tab will allow you to configure the default panel and add other panels if you like. Under Application, you can manage startup applications
and file associations from an extensive list. You can, of course, define keyboard shortcuts and various session
and window-system-specific settings. Interestingly, the window decorations (that changed upon changing theme) could only be set up from here instead of the theme menu. Also, being offered seems to have resembled the default window controls.Applications
Lumina is not so much your usual DE, coming with all sorts of applications and office suites, etc., but rather an interface through which you can interact with the system. As such, it only has a simple set of applications available, consisting of the already mentioned “lumina search” which is also accessible from the menus. A simple file manager called “Insight” (lumina-fm), a basic screen capture application (lumina screenshot) and “lumina desktop-info,” tells you about the DE. Anything else you’d have to install yourself.Performance
Lumina is really lightweight. It is fluxbox-based, which is, of course, one of the lightest window managers out there. Lumina tops fluxbox’s sub 10MB memory use with further 70 MB with the standard settings. This means that this completely customisable, user-friendly and not bad-looking Desktop Environment uses less than 80MB of RAM, which is not exactly heavy by any standard. With that much memory demand, it definitely does not get in the way.Conclusion
For small, old, or purposefully lightweight systems, Lumina is one excellent choice for a desktop environment. It is probably less well known then some others but definitely easier to use than similarly lightweight window managers. Lumina is super light and very customisable. The modular plug-in based approach makes it possible to have it as stripped down or (relatively) feature rich as the user likes. Although some features might look unfamiliar at first, especially for someone coming form a heavier or different environment, Lumina makes configuration not only straightforward but intuitive as well. For now, its availability is somewhat limited, but hopefully it will soon come packaged for more distributions. Until then, you might as well consider switching to Debian, which would be an excellent base for a lightweight system, or consider installing from the git source.
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You're reading Lumina, A Lightweight Desktop Environment
Are you loving your current Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE) user interface? Well, that’s going to change in the next iteration of UNE, also known as 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.
Ubuntu founder has recently unveiled a new lightweight desktop environment called Unity. This new desktop environment is designed to consume lesser resources and make lesser use of the screen space. It will comprise of a dynamic dock like launcher, a global menu and windicators on the top right corner of each app window.
The PPA is available for public testing and we took the chance to give it a spin in our Ubuntu desktop.Installing Ubuntu Unity
For those who wish to test Unity, you can install it via the PPA. It’s only applicable for Ubuntu Lucid.
After the installation, restart your system and choose the Ubuntu Netbook Edition when you are logging in.
The first thing that you will notice is the gnome-shell lookalike interface.
There is a vertical dock on the left of the screen and a search bar at the top panel. The taskbar remains the same, but you can no longer add/remove applets from the panel (it is locked).Dynamic Dock Launcher
The dock on the left is the main activities area. You can add/remove applications to the dock and arrange it in the order you prefer. It has a similar flavor to the Windows 7 taskbar, but less customizable (at this point of testing).
At any time, you can identify an opened application from the arrow at the left of its icon. The right arrow (beside the icon) represent the currently active window.
To arrange the icons, you have to first drag the app out of the dock, then move it to the position you want.
The dock is also scrollable, making it possible for you to add many applications and still able to access them even though they are out of your screen.Window selection in an Expo-like style Google search bar
One distinct feature of Unity is the Google search bar at the top panel. When you perform a search, it will launch Firefox (or the default browser) and show the search result.What Unity is lacking
Note that this Unity package is still far from completion, so there are still plenty of features not included.
Top panel is locked
Like the existing UNE, the top panel is locked. You won’t be able to add/remove any applets onto it.
No easy way to access the desktop
With Unity, your desktop has kind of become obsolete since you won’t be able to access it. If you like to place your files in your desktop, the only way to access it is to open Nautilus and navigate to the Desktop folder.
Dock launcher can’t deal with multiple launching of the same app
For example, if you want to open 2 Nautilus windows, you can’t do that with the dock launcher.Conclusion
Apparently, the Unity package is still lacking in many areas that prevent us from using it as the default desktop environment. Nevertheless, there is still considerable potential that not only will bring a lot of value to the Ubuntu Netbook Edition, but also setting a new standard in netbook user interface.
What do you think?
Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.
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A sometimes-forgotten Linux Desktop Environment, Cinnamon is a contender for your desktop that you may not have seen coming. While Cinnamon is developed by the Linux Mint team as a flagship for their distribution, it is also available to download and use on any other distro. This article covers Cinnamon desktop in depth, exploring the user experience and customization options, performance, usability, and recommendations for who should use Cinnamon.First Impressions of Cinnamon
Cinnamon was initially a fork of GNOME, but with Cinnamon 2.0, it became an independent desktop environment that is no longer reliant on the GNOME library. Upon logging in, Cinnamon looks clean, modern, and focused. It follows a very traditional desktop paradigm from Windows, with an application menu in the bottom left, applications along the bottom panel, and a system tray in the bottom right. It also has desktop icons for all your disks/file systems with “Computer” and your home folder with “Home.”
Cinnamon has a classic, traditional paradigm, but with a distinct touch.
Once you get over the initial “Wow, this looks like Windows,” you see that there’s been some work done on Cinnamon to make it feel distinct from both the GNOME backend and the Windows-esque appearance. The “Themes” application gives you a nice overview of all your look-and-feel settings and options, with tons of color choices available, with the options to change things around.User Experience
If the aim was to create a DE that follows traditional paradigms, then the Linux Mint team has absolutely done that with Cinnamon. Right out of the box, there are dedicated minimize and maximize buttons, all the window controls are on the right side of the window borders, and the application menu in the bottom left has categories and a powerful search function that not only searches application titles but also descriptions. Navigating the desktop is super simple; the desktop puts you in the driver’s seat while not asking you to drive anything too unwieldy.
Searching “look” brings up the Themes app, giving you a way to have Cinnamon hear what you mean, not what you say
For anything you need in Cinnamon, you simply open the applications menu and either look through the categories or start typing to search. It’s a centralized location for you to start digging through everything the system has to offer, and it unifies all of the applications into logical categories and a universal access point. It’s quite similar to Windows in that way, but the feel of the applications is reminiscent of many GNOME applications. The interface is simple but effective, and it gives you what you’re looking for without getting in the way. A great example of this is Xed, which is Cinnamon’s take on Gedit from GNOME. It’s simple, elegant, minimal, and allows you to quickly write your script, text file, or readme without much hassle.The Cinnamon X-Apps
Many of the Cinnamon default X-Apps are like GNOME Core apps plus a little extra user-friendliness. Xed, the text editor, is like Gedit with some easier preferences and choices. The ways the apps are designed is partially why Linux Mint has a great reputation of being user-friendly.
Cinnamon’s XedGNOME’s GeditCustomization
Cinnamon also has a great deal more customization right out of the box than its ancestor. While the default interface is Windows-like, you can easily move the panel around (or remove it if you want) and make it macOS-like/Ubuntu-like or any other style you like. You can customize the panel, the icon for the applications menu, the global theme, the accent colors, the icon theme, the window decorations, the window border, and so much more. Almost every aspect of the desktop interface can be customized. The customization isn’t on par with KDE Plasma, but it’s much more thorough than other offerings. It makes space for you to move in and feel at home without overwhelming you. It’s the best parts of Linux without the worst parts: you have the choice and control without the overwhelming amount of freedom that some options give you.Keyboard Shortcuts in Cinnamon
Cinnamon also comes with great keyboard shortcuts, especially around window tiling. By holding down the Super key and pressing Left, Right, Up, or Down, you can half-tile windows to the left, right, top, or bottom of your screen. Plus, once a window is half-tiled to one side, you can quarter-tile it by pressing Up or Down. The windows tile without any animation or delay, making things feel incredibly fast and like you can just get work done.
Quarter tiling in action
Window management is done with a classic Alt + Tab, giving you an application icon and a drop-down menu of the window preview. In terms of workspace management, it’s a similar setup: hold down Ctrl and Alt and press either Left, Right, Up, or Down. Left and Right will switch workspaces, Down will show you an overview of your workspaces, and Up will give you a gridded overview of all of your workspaces with the option to add more.
Cinnamon focuses on the keyboard, which is playing to the strengths of Linux particularly well, especially with a lack of easy touchpad gestures in Linux. Being able to hold Super or Ctrl and Alt and use the arrow keys to navigate the system, especially with the quick snap of the keyboard shortcuts, gives you a really logical and simple way to work around the system, and once you embrace those shortcuts, you won’t go back.
Cinnamon’s Workspace Expo is a great way to quickly look at everything happening on your desktop with Ctrl + Alt + UpCinnamon Extensions
There are all kinds of Cinnamon extensions available, like a Compiz Cube for your workspaces, a background blur in overview, and wobbly windows, a favorite among its diehard fans. The Cinnamon Extensions give you access to some functional changes in the desktop rather than the typical visual changes afforded by the Themes app. It’s another layer of customization that gives you flexibility in your system.Cinnamon Desklets
Another great strength of Cinnamon is its Desklets. These are little applets that you can add to your desktop to give you a larger clock, a dedicated application launcher, CPU usage graphs, and many others. It’s a great way to be able to quickly glance at important information without having to crowd a system tray or open another application. It’s all just baked into the desktop.Performance
Cinnamon performance is excellent. At idle on a freshly-booted Linux Mint 19.3 virtual machine, CPU usage is around two to three percent, and idle RAM usage is at 566MB. That’s quite a small footprint, especially considering its lineage. That makes it ideal for older machines with less powerful CPUs and that have lower maximum RAM specifications. I could envision an older ThinkPad running very well with Cinnamon, especially given all of its useful keyboard shortcuts.
An Htop view of Linux Mint 19.3 running Cinnamon
As mentioned before, there are very few animations, which can feel a little un-modern. However, it increases overall system performance and makes things feel lightning fast. Switching workspaces, tiling windows, opening the application menu, everything feels incredibly fast. It makes me want to work faster in order to keep up with the desktop, almost like the desktop challenges me to keep up.The Cons of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an excellent desktop environment, but there are some negatives to it. The Mint Icon theme feels a little dated, and it feels like somebody made a caricature of an icon theme from 2007. It’s simple enough to change, like with all Linux desktops, but there’s clearly been much thought that’s gone into the design, theming and accent colors that I’d love to be able to stick with the Mint icon theme. It’s a bit of a letdown.
Another downside is some of the extra applications that come with Cinnamon. Things like Transmission, HexChat, two distinct fonts apps, and two distinct USB formatting and writing applications makes me wonder how much of it is really necessary. I often find myself uninstalling a fair number of applications that come stock with Cinnamon just because they get in my way. The X-Apps are great, as they add usability to the GNOME Core apps, but it’s just hard to get past HexChat in my applications menu.Where to Experience Cinnamon
The obvious choice is Linux Mint. The Linux Mint team has been iterating on Cinnamon for a good while, and the polish that they’ve achieved is commendable. On top of Cinnamon itself, there are tons of useful applications developed by the team and integrated into Mint specifically, which makes for an incredible user experience. Things like Warpinator, Timeshift, and the Driver Manager give little user-friendly edges to Mint that are hard to find elsewhere.Who Should Use Cinnamon
Anybody looking for a lightweight desktop that looks good and works well out of the box should give Cinnamon a try, especially if you consider yourself a keyboard shortcut kind of person. Using Cinnamon even for a day or two will give your desktop a new lease on life and help you realize the potential of how quickly and efficiently you can get work done.
Now that you’ve learned some of the ins and outs of Cinnamon, make sure to check out how to enable Autologin in LightDM and why you should use Timeshift in Linux Mint to back up your computer.
John is a young technical professional with a passion for educating users on the best ways to use their technology. He holds technical certifications covering topics ranging from computer hardware to cybersecurity to Linux system administration.
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So for today, I’ll go over how to schedule a Power Automate desktop flow to run inside Power Automate online. Let’s go to the Power Automate online and get one of the flows scheduled. All we have to do is basically just type in chúng tôi and it will take you to this homepage. This is what it would look like if you were already signed in.
Cloud flows could be any flow that we’ve created through chúng tôi You can check out our Power Automate Masterclass course from our Enterprise DNA expert, Henry Habib, for more on this topic. Typically, most of Henry’s flows would be under cloud flows.
Most of the flows under here are flows that I already set up that trigger or run those desktop flows on a schedule.
There’s also a Desktop flows tab, and a Business process flows tab. And then there’s another tab for Shared with me. If another user within your organization has shared a flow with you, it would appear in this tab.
But for today, I’m just going to concentrate on the cloud flows. In my situation, I schedule these desktop flows to run during the night so that when I wake up in the morning, I have the Power BI refresh schedule turned on.
These flows are downloading the data that I need to import into Power BI desktop. These refresh already have the updated data when they’re scheduled to run in the morning,
On the Cloud flows tab, you can see the highlighted clock icon which lets us know that this is a scheduled flow. The grayed out clock icons are current flows that I don’t have turned on. I have them set up, but they’re not scheduled to run so I have them turned off.
And then at the bottom, it gives you a 28-day run history. As you can see, on February 27th at 1:45 this morning, this flow failed.
This action will open up a new page where we can see the step-by-step processes and determine which steps proceeded and where it failed. We can see that on the right hand side of the screen, everything was good until this point.
You can use this feature to investigate and see the finer details on why your flow may have failed, and the reasons why.
Let’s go back to the main screen. Some other cool things that we can do from this page is run the flow, edit the flow, and share the flow with another member inside of our organization using these buttons.
So this is what the main screen looks like once you actually have some cloud flows set up. In my case, most of these are triggering desktop flows.
Let’s create another one of these cloud flows by going to the top button that says New flow.
There will be a menu where we can choose from different types of flows: Automated cloud flow, Instant cloud flow, Scheduled cloud flow, Desktop flow, or a Business process flow.
This new flow is going to start on February 27th at 1130 at night, and it will repeat every night, moving forward until we tell it to stop.
When you do run a scheduled cloud flow based on your desktop flows, your computer should not be asleep. It has to be on during this time. If you did this and your machine was asleep, you would see the next day that it failed.
From there, select your time zone.
If we want to run this flow multiple times, obviously we’d have to change frequency at the top. We can also separate these numbers by commas so that the flow will run at different times throughout the day.
In this case, the first option is what we’re using today. This screen will then pop up.
If you go to the Power Automate homepage and look at the prices, there is an extreme difference between attended and unattended.
We’ll be using attended flows, which means that we have to be signed in in order for the flow to run. You can run them unattended, but the price difference between the two is huge.
These are really the only two steps that you need in order to set up a desktop flow: Recurrence and Run a flow built with Power Automate for desktop. It’s not really that hard to get these flows set up and going once you get the hang of it.
If you enjoyed the content covered in this particular tutorial, please subscribe to the Enterprise DNA TV channel. We have a huge amount of content coming out all the time from myself and a range of content creators, all dedicated to improving the way that you use Power BI and the Power Platform.
Mobile computing has long been dominated by laptop computers, but powerful new smartphones such as the various Android phones–including the new Motorola Droid X–are rapidly becoming the portable computing devices of choice.
However, a lot of tasks, such as word processing and Web browsing, are still more easily accomplished using the larger keyboard and monitor of a traditional laptop or PC. Consequently, most mobile professionals continue to lug around a bulky laptop in addition to their smartphone.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could ditch your laptop, carry just your smartphone, and still be able to work in a Windows PC (or OS X or Linux) environment when you need to? You can do that, with the help of portable apps. In contrast to phone apps–which are designed to run on the handset itself, using the phone’s hardware and operating system–portable apps run on a host computer, using the computer’s RAM and display, but they save all their data and settings to your portable drive (or your phone’s internal memory).USB Drive Mode
All you need is your smartphone, the USB sync cable that works with it, and the right selection of portable apps, as well as access to a desktop or laptop PC–even if it’s just as a guest.
First, plug your phone into the computer using the phone’s sync cable. Next, select USB Drive mode. This process should work with all operating systems, most smartphones, and most other type of phone that use a sync cable. If your phone doesn’t use a sync cable, you’re out of luck.
[Story corrected on 7/19/10 to reflect the iPhone’s inability to support Drive Mode without jailbreaking.]Finding Windows XP/Vista/7 Portable Apps
If you’d like to work as if you were at your desk, try chúng tôi Portable. Another useful app is the portable, cross-browser RoboForm2Go, a password manager that is secure and encrypted.
For another good source of useful portable apps, check out the Portable Freeware Collection.Installing Windows XP/Vista/7 Portable Apps
Installing portable apps in Windows is a fairly straightforward process, similar to installing “normal” programs. The main difference is that with portable apps you need to specify the location where you want to install the app–namely, your smartphone’s internal storage.
If you have never installed portable apps before, going with chúng tôi is probably the easiest way to start. You can choose to download and install the Platform utility, an app launcher similar to the Start menu that makes it easy to install and access your choice of portable apps, documents, and other files.
Or you can try the bundled PortableApps Suite, which includes portable versions of the Firefox Web browser, Thunderbird e-mail client, Sunbird calendar/task app, ClamWin antivirus scanner, Pidgin instant messaging client, Sumatra PDF reader, KeePass password manager, CoolPlayer audio player, PNotes sticky-note tool, and chúng tôi office suite (a decent cross-platform alternative to Microsoft Office). It even has a couple of games.
Keep in mind, however, that the Suite is a 137MB download and that it unpacks to 400MB when installed. The installation process is simple (you just download the installer, run it, and specify your phone’s drive letter), but the package may be overkill for your needs. Personally, I use only the Platform app with Firefox Portable, Chrome Portable, Pidgin Portable, and Notepad ++.
Next: Portable Apps for Mac and Linux
I have been in the technology business more years than I am willing to admit. However, I will say I do long for the good ol’ days when all one had to worry about were the 3270 green-screen terminals in the accounting department.
Up until a couple of years ago, I was able to dodge the bullet and steer clear of the desktop arena. Then came that fateful day in October when I was summoned into the corner office.
Seems that while I was relaxing on my fishing trip the week before, our Desktop Services Manager decided to go in search of bigger and better things… outside the company. My boss, being the good person that he is, decided it would be a good idea for yours truly to absorb the Desktop Services department. Needless to say I was ”ecstatic”.
Or maybe the proper term is ”in a state of panic”.
Assess the Situation
After I was back within the safe confines of my office and regained my composure, I began to review the real issues associated with desktop management. After carefully assessing the situation and spending time with my desktop support team, I determined there were five major categories I must tackle. These included Asset Management, Software Management, Operating System (OS) Management, Anti-Virus updates and break/fix or Desk Side support. These issues are not new and are not associated with any particular company. As a matter of fact these issues are common to almost every enterprise.
Quantify What You Must Manage
In regard to asset management, I needed the ability to track an asset from the time it arrived on my receiving dock until such time that it was to be retired. I also needed to be able to track software license compliance and be able to determine if end users were violating company policy by downloading or installing software on their own. The biggest challenge was to be able to quickly deploy OS and anti-virus updates.
The easiest of the five categories, it turns out, was Desk Side Support as I had an outstanding technical team and a very good system, Clientele, to log and track support calls as well as service histories. At least I had something to start with.
Identify Automated Systems
To address the remainder of the issues, I needed a common management platform that would help my team tame this herd of cats I had just inherited. Also, the system must be easy to use and have the ability to communicate with other business systems using Application Program Interfaces (API).
Of course, there are a number of products in the marketplace that address each of these issues, however, there are not many that address them all. So rather than implement a number of systems and link them together, or worse, develop a in-house solution, I decided that the first criteria would be a tool that would handle all of my requirements, excluding a system to manage desk side support, which I already had in place.
There exist a number of systems including Altiris, Unicenter, and Marimba, all of which are great products, each with its particular strong points. At the end of the day, I decided on CA’s Unicenter product mainly because the product has been around a long time and has matured nicely. Equally important, Unicenter fit in quite well with our existing business processes.
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