Useful applications, and how to install from source

I’m back, and I brought a few cool applications I found with me.

Both are from They are useful tools for adjusting setting normally hard to get at. This is a common problem in the Linux world, so I’m glad people are making apps like these. Normally, I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and modify my preferences in their config files. However, some have a somewhat steep learning curve, or an arcane syntax.

GnomePrefs-NG is a tool for adjusting many hidden preferences in Gnome and some of it’s companion applications. They are often very useful, and can solve that little thing thats been bugging you. BashStyle-NG changes the appearance of your Bash prompt (Terminal), good if you use the command line often but don’t want to wade through .bashrc.

Also, Many people simply do not wish to mess with command line of they can use a gui. I don’t personally agree, but these are the people helping push Linux into wider use, so I can’t complain.

Both are kind of counterintuitive in that they are made to add a missing gui, but need to be install from scratch… No matter, I’ll guide you through installation via the terminal.

Learning to install from source is necessary eventually for most involved linux users that wish to stay anywhere near the cutting edge. The packages just don’t cut it sometimes. Many authors don’t or can’t offer them, or offer the wrong kind.

First, go to the site. GnomePrefs-NG can be found here. BashStyle-NG can be found here. I personally just look at them in the Archive viewer so that they get save to /tmp. You can save it anywhere you want, but you don’t need it after you install it. For this reason, I recommend just downoading it to /tmp.

Open up a terminal. Use cd to get to wherever you saved it. For example, since I downloaded to /tmp, I ran ‘cd /tmp’ Use tab to autocomplete, as it is your friend.

Now, if you run ls, you will see them. I’ll work with GnomePrefs-NG first. It should show up as GnomePrefs-4.0rc1+1.tar.bz2. Now, run ‘bunzip2 GnomePrefs-4.0rc1+1.tar.bz2. This gets rid of the compression on the tarball. Note that you do not have to type in the whole name, just type, say, ‘Gn’, and press ‘tab’. It should fill in the rest. Also remember that the shell is case-sensitive. gnome is not equal to Gnome.

You will be left with a tarball, name GnomePrefs-4.0rc1+1.tar. Now run ‘tar xvvf GnomePRefs4.0rc1+1.tar’. This extracts the tarball to a directory named ‘GnomePrefs…’ Yeah, you know the rest.

cd to that directory. ls if you wish to see what is in it. I usually do out of habit. Run ‘./configure’. This checks to make sure you have all of the depencencies. I did, but YMMV. If it shows you don’t have something, search for it in Synaptic. It will be there.

Now, run ‘make’. This will show one or two lines on this particular install, just cleaning things up. Now, the magic. Run ‘sudo make install’. You will need to enter your password. Now GnomePrefs-NG is installed!

If you downloaded to /tmp, it will be deleted when you logoff. Otherwise, feel free to delete the files.

Type ‘gnomeprefs’ at the terminal, or use Applications > Accessories > GnomePrefs to get to it. From there, it allows you to adjust many hidden Gnome options, such as the splash image.

Now, to installing BashStyle-NG. This install goes exactly as for GnomePrefs-NG, except for one thing. It has a required dependency that is optional for GnomePrefs. It will show up as missing when you run ./configure. To install it, use either Synaptic or just run ‘sudo apt-get install python-psyco’. Simple as that. When you finish, it can be accessed via running bashprefs or Applications > Accessories > BashStyle.

Congratulations, you just installed a couple programs from source. Practice some more when you see that awesome-looking program that doesn’t have an Ubuntu package.


One Response

  1. […] Both have deb files availbale on their respective sites, so you can just download and install. None of that pesky installing from source we went through yesterday. […]

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