Nautilus - Thumbnailer for Ms Office documents

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When you use Gnome Shell under Ubuntu or Debian, all Ms Office files are displayed thru some generic icons in Nautilus.

With the help of LibreOffice, it is possible to use the first page of a document as a Nautilus thumbnail.

To make it even more visual, the thumbnail can be outdrawn by the document type official icon. You will then get a display much more visual.

This article explains all the steps needed to configure Nautilus to display thumbnails of Ms Office documents including document type icon and first page content, providing a simple and efficient Ms Office documents preview. It is using LibreOffice as a conversion tool and some very basic tools.

This procedure has been tested under Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 LTS with Libre Office 5.x. It should be applicable to many Gnome based distributions. It has also been tested under Lubuntu 14.04 LTS with PCManFM.

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Nautilus - Thumbnailer for LibreOffice documents

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When you use Gnome Shell under Ubuntu or Debian, all LibreOffice files are displayed thru some generic icons in Nautilus.

openoffice-iconLibreOffice files are either a ZIP archives embedding a thumbnail of the first document page(.odt, .odx, ...) or a flat XML file (.fodt, .fodx, ...). With both type of documents, it is possible to use or to generate this first page thumbnail as a Nautilus thumbnail.

To make it even more visual, the thumbnail can be outdrawn by the document type official icon. You will then get a display much more visual.

This article explains all the steps needed to configure Nautilus to display thumbnails of LibreOffice documents including document type icon and first page content, providing a simple and efficient LibreOffice documents preview. It is using some very basic tools.

This procedure has been tested under Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 LTS and Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 LTS. It should be applicable to many Gnome based distributions. It has also been tested under Lubuntu 14.04 LTS with PCManFM.

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Nautilus - Thumbnailer for APK files

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On Android devices, all programs are installed thru some APK archives. Under Gnome Nautilus, these APK archives are recognised as a specific mime types and are displayed with some generic text file icon.

As most of the time the name of these APK archives is not very friendly, it is difficult to associate an APK file with the Android application it contains. To help you with this association, it could be very helpful to display the application icon as it is done under Android instead of the generic icon.

Thanksfully, under Gnome Shell, Nautilus allows to generate a specific thumbnail according to the APK mime type application/vnd.android.package-archive. As APK archive are supposed to contain their Android application icon, it becomes possible to display the application icon as the Nautilus thumbnail. You can also add APK version provided by the embedded manifest.xml.

nautilus-apk-thumbnail

This article explains all the steps needed to configure Nautilus to display the APK embedded application icon as thumbnail. This allows you to handle your APK files from Nautilus as they appear on your Android device.

This procedure has been tested under Ubuntu and Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 LTS and even LUbuntu with PCManFM.
It should be applicable to many other distributions.

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Gnome Shell - Create New Documents from Nautilus contextual menu

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With Gnome 3, Nautilus doesn't provide any more an empty file creation menu.

As amazing as it can be, this very simple and very productive feature has been remove with Gnome 3. You still can create an empty folder, but not an empty file !

As this very simple feature is a must have, this article explains how to get it back, but boosted with steroids.

It explains how to setup Nautilus to handle creation of different empty document types, based on some document models you have written and configured.

You'll then be able to create any type of new documents customised to your specific need (writer document with your letter head, bash script with your default title block, …) straight from :

  • any Nautilus window
  • Nautilus toolbar menu

ubuntu nautilus newfile menu

It has been tested on Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS and 16.04 LTS, but should be installable on any Linux distribution running Gnome.

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Nautilus - Handle EXIF tags and geolocalisation data

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With smartphones or modern digital camera, all digital photos files are now generated with plenty of useful tags.

These tags can be of different type  : EXIF, IPTC or XMP. They can also include some GPS localisation data.

Actually, on a Ubuntu 16.04 workstation, there is no simple way to visualize all these tags  straight from Nautilus file manager when you manage your digital image folders.

This article explains how to extend Nautilus with some simple python extension to :

  • add some columns providing specific image informations (camera model, city, country, GPS data, ...)
  • provide a picture property tab with all picture tags (EXIF, IPTC, XMP, ...)
  • provide a picture property tab with GPS map and address

This procedure has been tested under Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 LTS and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS running Gnome Classic, but it should be applicable to many other modern Gnome Shell based distributions.

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Nautilus - Columns and Property page Provider for APK files

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On Android devices, all programs are installed thru some APK packages. Like well-known deb packages, these packages have some specific descriptive data : package name, version number, version code, requested permissions, ...

If you are an APK developper or if you are handling a large collection of APK packages on a Linux computer, you'll find that Nautilus is providing some very poor informations about these files. It is not even displaying the icon properly !

A previous article explained how to Display official APK icon as Nautilus thumbnail.

This article explains how to use Nautilus python extension capabilities to :

  • add some columns providing specific APK informations (package name, version, ...)
  • add one tab to APK file properties to provide a lot of extra informations

This procedure has been tested under Ubuntu Gnome 16.04 LTS and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS running gnome, but it should be applicable to many other modern Gnome Shell based distributions.

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Gnome Shell - Management of Extensions from console

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Under Debian or Ubuntu, Gnome Shell default installation comes with very few extensions.

Hopefully, huge number of extensions are available from Gnome Shell Extensions store.

This store is a fantastic improvment, but you need to install all extensions one by one from the web site.
Till date, there is no official way to install them in console mode.

This is quite annoying if you are a sysadmin and you are handling quite a big amount of workstations, as most of your installation process must be scripted.

This article explains how to install & remove any Gnome Shell extension from https://extensions.gnome.org/ via a console command.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Trusty 14.04 / Gnome Shell 3.8 and Ubuntu Xenial 16.04 / Gnome Shell 3.18.
But it should work on any Ubuntu or Debian flavour and with latest Gnome Shell versions.

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Ubuntu - Graphviz Previewer & Thumbnailer for Nautilus

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Graphviz (Graph Visualization Software) is a package of open-source tools initiated by AT&T Labs Research for drawing graphs specified in DOT language scripts.

DOT files are text files with .dot extension. They use a graph description language named DOT language. These files can be processed by some tools like dot  to generate a graphical view.

Under Ubuntu and Debian, you get a set of command line tools but no GUI (Graphical User Interface) for Gnome Shell.

If you want to have a complete desktop integration for your graphviz DOT files, you need to add a proper thumbnailer and a previewer.

This article explains how to setup a complete desktop integration for Graphviz .dot files with Gnome Shell. You'll then be able to :

  • see your graphviz .dot files thumbnails inside Nautilus
  • see your graphviz .dot file preview straight from Eye of Gnome

This has been tested on Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS Amd64 and LUbuntu 14.04 LTS. It should work on many Linux distribution with little adjustment.

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Gnome Shell - Customise your SSH terminal per Host basis

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If you are a sysadmin, your desktop must be filled with SSH consoles, allowing you to supervise and administrate a lot of different servers. And there is nothing more similar to a console than another console.

As all these console are the same, there is a real risk of error, typing some commands on the wrong server ...

Nowadays, the standard Gnome Shell terminal is providing a begining of solutions with the support of profiles. So, with the help of these profiles, you can easily change the title bar, background color, background image or text color of your consoles. Your consoles can be customised for every host, but you have to select the profile once the console is opened.

Why not to automatised the process ?

This article explains a solution to select automatically a profile according to the SSH host. The main principle of the proposed solution is to :

  • create one SSH configuration for each host
  • create one Gnome Terminal profile per host
  • use a helper script to detect the host and to launch the terminal with the right profile

To make it simple, when you will type custom-ssh -e "ssh server1"  you will launch gnome-terminal SSH console to server1 host using server1 profile.

The strengh of this solution is that it will be integrated with SSH Search Shell Extension, which is a fantastic productivity tool available under Gnome Shell. It allows you to launch your SSH console by just typing the first letters of the host to administrate.

It has been tested under Ubuntu Precise 12.04, but it should work with any Linux distribution using Gnome Shell 3.x.

Read more: Gnome Shell - Customise your SSH terminal per Host basis

Gnome Shell - Tips to help migration from Gnome 3.4 to Gnome 3.8+

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For the last two years, I've become a big fan of Gnome Shell. This desktop environment is becoming really robust and very well polished. Its simplicity is its strength.

But when upgrading from Gnome Shell 3.4 to 3.8+, you'll notice few differences in term of interface and behaviour. As a normal or power user you may be a little bit lost because of some evolutions. Some of the most noticeable differences are :

  • placement of Nautilus main menu
  • location of Nautilus scripts
  • location of Bookmarks file
  • behaviour of right menu to create new documents

This article focuses on some of these differences between Gnome Shell 3.4 and Gnome SHell 3.8 / 3.10. It gives some tips and clues to simplify your migration from version 3.4 to 3.8+.

It has been tested on a migration from Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to Ubuntu Gnome 13.10 & Ubuntu Gnome 14.04 LTS. But it should be applicable to any Linux distribution based on Gnome shell.

Read more: Gnome Shell - Tips to help migration from Gnome 3.4 to Gnome 3.8+