Thursday, December 13, 2007

Quicksilver for Ubuntu

GNOME DO is a application launcher, a la Katapult in KDE and Quicksilver in Mac OSX.
From the developer's website ::
GNOME Do allows you to quickly search for many objects present in your GNOME desktop environment (applications, Evolution contacts, Firefox bookmarks, files, artists and albums in Rhythmbox, Pidgin buddies) and perform commonly used commands on those objects (Run, Open, Email, Chat, Play, etc.).

GNOME Do is inspired by Quicksilver and GNOME Launch Box.

This application is available through the famous Launchpad ( of Canonical fame).
The download page contains the packages for Ubuntu Gutsy.
To install, add the following lines to /etc/apt/sources.list



deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/rharding/ubuntu gutsy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/rharding/ubuntu gutsy main


and install GNOME Do with the command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-do


For Hardy packages, change "gutsy" in the lines above to "hardy". PPA downloads are not signed so you have to ignore the error about "The following packages cannot be authenticated."

Ubuntu has a wiki page for usage, copy/pasting from there.

Usage

Start gnome-do by using the Gnome-do entry in the Accessories menu.

You can now launch the gnome-do dialog by press Super + Space. On most systems the super key is also known as the windows key. You should see a dialog with a small search icon and two boxes. The one to the left is the Item box, which shows the item you have selected, and the one on the right is the Action box, which shows the action you wish to perform on the Item.

To startup gnome-do without it actually showing the UI use the --quiet flag.

gnome-do --quiet

Starting Applications

Launch gnome-do and type the application name - for example Rhythmbox.

Press enter and the selected application will launch. Be aware that gnome-do will start matching as you type, so you shouldn't need to type the entire name.

Fun with Music!

Note: This requires the rhythmbox plugin which indexs the database of Rhythmbox, the default music player for the Gnome desktop. This is pre-installed on Ubuntu.

Launch gnome-do and type the name of an artist in your music collection. Once the artist you want is shown press the right arrow key to view a list of albums beneath that artist. You can select albums by using the up and down keys. This list is also searchable (so for example if I had searched for Radiohead and had a list of albums, typing Ok Computer at this point would select Ok Computer). To view tracks in the selected album press the right arrow key again. At any point pressing enter will play the selection in rhythmbox. So, if I type Radiohead and press enter all Radiohead songs are enqueued, if I go across to Ok Computer and press enter...(you can see where this is going). Clever, isn't it?

Now, what about queuing songs up? The procedure is basically the same but we need to change the action from 'Play' to 'Queue'. Once you have selected the music you want (Ok Computer yet again) press tab to change focus to the Action box and press the down arrow to change the Action.

We can perform other music related actions too by typing them! For example...type Pause to...erm...pause! Others include:

  • Play

  • Volume up

  • Volume down

  • Show current track

  • Mute

  • and finally Unmute

File Management

Gnome-do can help open files for you as well. For example, start typing home. You should get an option to open the home folder in nautilus by pressing enter. This will work for any folder in your home folder, although be warned it does not take proper Unix paths (so for the ubiquitous example, Documents will work where /home/john/Documents will not). You can also open files by typing their name and things in your Places menu.

Opening URL's

Just type it in! For example www.ubuntu.com.

Execute in a shell

As above! If your command is one word long you will need to change the Action from Define to Open in shell by pressing tab and the down arrow.

Email and instant message

Type the name of the contact, then tab across and select the required Action.

Third Party Extensions

Tomboy

URL: [WWW] http://bzr.mitechie.com/do-extensions/

Drop the .dll from compiled_dlls into your .do/addins/ directory.

It indexes your notes by title and adds the commands:

  • Search Tomboy Notes

  • Create Tomboy Note

Add more!

This is probably just a taste of the basic features of gnome-do. As you find them, add them!

Hints and Tips

After using gnome-do for a little while you will probably want to autostart it with your desktop. To do this, open System --> Preferences --> Sessions and add Gnome-do as the name and gnome-do --quiet as the command.

To change the keybinding Type alt-f2 and run gconf-editor. Drill down to /apps/gnome-do/preferences and change the keybinding. You may need to restart gnome-do for this to take effect.

Thanks to David Siegel and everyone who contributed to this excellent program.

Addins

You can find some addins here: http://do.davebsd.com/addins. Place these addins in ~/.do/addins and restart Do. The source for these addins can be found in our do-addins branch.

  • The Pidgin addin requires libpurple-bin (contains purple-remote) in order to use the Chat command.
  • The Evolution addin requires libevolution3.0-cil to read your Evolution address book.
  • The Rhythmox addin uses rhythmbox-client to communicate with Rhythmbox. You probably already have this if you have Rhythmbox installed.

Requirements

I suggest you have Tomboy (libtomboy) installed to use the keybinding.

Do displays different icons depending on your GNOME Appearance preferences. I suggest you use a high-quality icon set like Tango.

sudo apt-get install libevolution-cil libpurple-bin

You will also probably need the program the plugin is for...

Screenshots::


You may want to check out the official screenshots at Flickr.





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