Full stack web developer, interested in all the things, but especially the web, code, design, Linux, OS X, PHP, WordPress, JavaScript & robots.

Tagged: ubuntu

Bash in Windows 10, it’s weird

Bash in Windows 10

Bash shell in Windows 10.

Last weekend, I finally pulled my finger out and got around to installing the Windows 10 Anniversary update on my dual boot X220. The installation was painless and I didn’t experience any horror stories, thankfully.

After the update was installed, the very first thing I did was to enable the new Windows Subsystem for Linux feature.

Now, I’ve read an awful lot about Bash on Windows, but reading about it and actually trying it are two totally different experiences. Using Bash in Windows just feels weird. Good, but weird. It almost feels like I’ve been transported into some sort of twisted parallel universe where I’m using something that simply shouldn’t exist. Not that I’m complaining, I think it’s marvellous, and weird.

Anyhow, putting the weirdness aside, for someone like me who turns to Bash for all manner of tasks, this elevates Windows into the league of “proper” Operating Systems, along with Linux and OS X.

Kudos to Microsoft and Canonical.

Shell commands in Rocket Menu

Yesterday, I accepted a pull request and merged a commit into Rocket Menu that makes it possible to create menu items for running shell commands in a terminal. The commit adds a clever fake cmd:// protocol for adding shell commands via the Connections Editor. An example of this would be:


I never intended for Rocket Menu to do this sort of thing, I just use it for opening SSH connections in Nautilus, but it’s interesting to see how others are using it.

A big thank you to Adam Wójs for developing the latest feature and taking the time to submit a the pull request. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

P.S. For anyone using Rocket Menu via its PPA, I’ve rebuilt the package and the new version is already available.

About Faviconator

The other night, I built Faviconator, a little GUI application for creating favicon files from images. I’m pretty pleased with the result and the app works quite well, I think.

Screenshot of Faviconator running on Ubuntu

Screenshot of Faviconator running on Ubuntu.

To be honest, it’s not often that I have to create favicons, but that’s one of the reasons I created the app. Prior to creating the app, I had to try and remember (read as lookup via Google) some archaic ImageMagick command, or use one of the many ad-ridden web services, and neither was a pleasant experience.

Also, when I was using OS X, I really liked the fact that the App Store was full of little apps that were designed to perform a single task. I’d like to see more of that for Ubuntu, so Faviconator and pwgenGUI are contributions towards meeting that goal.

Anyhow, if you’d like to try the app, you can find more details here.

Rocket Menu Update – Connections Editor Improvements

Today, I accepted the first pull request to Rocket Menu. The commit includes some improvements to the connections editor, which now sports some new toolbar buttons for inserting separators and duplicating existing items.

A screenshot of Rocket Menu on Ubuntu 16.04

Rocket Menu’s Connections Editor on Ubuntu 16.04.

I’m pretty chuffed about this, not only because of the new features, but because it means at least one person has found the application useful. So, thank you, Mourad Hamoud, your contribution is really appreciated!

About pwgenGUI

At work, I often have to create new passwords for users. It’s not terribly difficult to do and I usually open my browser, navigate to one of the many password generating sites and grab a new password. Easy, but then I thought to myself, could it be even easier? I mean, I really should be able to do this with just 1 click of the mouse.

So, the other night, I created a little Python+GTK GUI application to do just that. pwgenGUI is basically a front-end for pwgen, a command line tool for generating passwords. I’m not sure if anyone else will find it useful, but I’ve packaged the application for Ubuntu and installation instructions can be found here.

5 Simple Steps To Enable Bash on Windows 10 image/svg+xml

Windows 10 Anniversary Update is here, and it’s rolling out now.

Among the new features it brings is Bash for Windows — an Ubuntu-based tool lets you run familiar Linux apps on Windows natively.

I was pretty excited when I first heard about this and I’m itching to give it a try, but I’ve read some horror stories today about users who have had their disk partitions removed after installing the update.

Currently, I’m thinking that I’ll wait a while before performing the update — I very rarely boot into Windows, so it’ll be no great hardship to wait until things have settled down.

About Rocket Menu

Back when I was using OS X, I used Transmit to connect to remote file systems and have them mounted in Finder. Now that I’m using Linux again, I can do this easily with Nautilus. However, Transmit provided a nifty little system tray icon, that when clicked on, revealed a menu of available connections. I missed that, so I created Rocket Menu as a replacement.

Why did I call it Rocket Menu? Because I fancied having a little rocket in my system tray. Rockets are cool!

Hands-on with the Linux-ready Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition image/svg+xml

The new Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is a good looking and well-built machine. It doesn’t come with Windows installed (if that’s important to you), and it runs Ubuntu and Fedora virtually perfectly. It’s a great machine for developers and system administrators.

I’ve been looking at the XPS 13 as a replacement for my ageing ThinkPad X220. I managed to get my hands on an XPS 13 (for a few minutes) a week ago and it looked like a really nice machine — the screen was very impressive. My only concern with regards to purchasing one of these would be the build quality, I’ve been using ThinkPad devices for a number of years and they have always been rock solid. Whereas, my only experience of Dell machines has been at work, and I’ve not been overly impressed with them. That said, I guess the XPS 13 is a premium model, so I’d expect it to be higher quality than the Vostro models.

Hmm, decisions decisions.

Synergy – Mouse and keyboard sharing software image/svg+xml

Synergy combines your desktop devices together in to one cohesive experience. It’s software for sharing your mouse and keyboard between multiple computers on your desk. It works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

When I was using my MacBook Pro, I had it hooked-up to 2 external displays and I used the MacBook Pro display for non-critical stuff like IRC and Twitter. Since I’ve stopped using my MacBook Pro and returned to my Linux desktop, with just the 2 displays, I’ve found that I really miss having a 3rd display (I know, it’s a First World problem).

So, this morning I installed Synergy on my desktop and an old ThinkPad. I now have 3 screens, again, and I’m super-happy with the result.