RSIBreak: a KDE utility which can help to prevent the RSI

March 11th, 2007 edited by ana

Entry submitted by Frederik Schwarzer. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury, ask Wikipedia for details) is an illness which can occur as a result of working with a mouse and keyboard.

RSIBreak forces you to suspend your working process for short periods of time, so that your muscles and nerves can relax every once in a while.
Once you have started RSIBreak, it settles down in the system tray and immediately starts its timers. Per default there are tiny breaks of 20 seconds after every 10 minutes and big breaks of one minute every hour. I configured the tiny breaks to be 3 minutes every 20 minutes and the big breaks to be 10 minutes every hour, so it better meets my laziness. :o)

RSIBreak is configurable over a context menu from the system tray icon to start automatically at KDE startup. You can also adjust how to handle short breaks (no keyboard or mouse activity) within the work cycle and what to do within the scheduled breaks. For instance RSIBreak can show a slideshow of pictures found in a given directory, darken the screen and disable normal keyboard and mouse functions or only show a notification popup besides the system tray icon. Anyway, if RSIBreak asks you for a break at a bad time, you can postpone the break by simply hitting the Escape key or pressing the Skip button. This can be disabled in the configuration dialog, so if you find youself cancelling four out of five breaks, this would probably be good for you. :)

The screenshot shows the statistics page reachable over the context menu, which holds a permanently updated summary of overall usage.

Statistics (click in the image to get a larger image)

For Gnome there is a similar application called Workrave that offers some additional features like showing excercises which you can make during the breaks (someone should definitely review workrave for DPOTD).

RSIBreak is not available for the current stable release (named Sarge), but for testing (currently Etch) and Sid. Also you can find the latest version in ubuntu feisty. You can also download the source code and get links to several packages from the RSIBreak Homepage.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 5 Comments »

gnome-main-menu: a new attractive menu for the GNOME environment

March 7th, 2007 edited by jaduncan

Entry submitted by Yann Benigot. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute by sending us original, high quality entries !

Look at your GNOME application menu. It’s simple, but has got one big problem: it doesn’t really allow you quick access to your favorite applications. Of course, you can make little icons on the panel to get a fast way to launch your programs, but this only scales so far. Finding an icon on a long bar with really small icons can be really annoying.

Gnome-main-menu is an easy and beautiful solution to that problem. It’s an applet to add to the desktop bar which offers you two-click access to your favorites applications, and also to your last documents and places. Additionaly, it allows easy access to disk usage levels, network connection information and the ability to add new applications to the base menu.

Adding an application Gnome Main Menu GMM menu

Not simply a new menu, it also offers an application browser with search. This enables you to quickly drill down to your selected application with a short description of the app, something of particular use to long time debaday addicts.

Other apps Searching for other apps

You might also be pining for the new 2.18 version of GNOME and the all in one control panel. Well, pine no more as all control applets also have their own search in GMM!

GMM control panel

Gnome Main Menu is available in Debian testing/unstable and in Ubuntu Edgy/Feisty in the package gnome-main-menu.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 18 Comments »

Yakuake: a Quake-style terminal emulator based on KDE Konsole technology

March 4th, 2007 edited by ana

Entry submitted by Sam Mirshafie. DPOTD needs your help, please contribute !

Maybe, you are a novice Linux user that do not yet understand the convenience of the command terminal, or you are an experienced user that always have some console windows sitting idly in the task bar. In order to do many tasks really efficiently, you should use the console, and in order to use the console effectively, you should use a terminal application such as Yakuake.

Whenever you need to use the terminal, just hit F12 (or any key that you’ve assigned) and Yakuake will slide down from the top of your screen. Since it is based on Konsole, it has got tabs and background transparency.


Yakuake’s design is quite different from other KDE applications. The tab bar is designed for transparency, and if you click on an active tab, you get a rename field. However, right-clicking on a tab has no effect. Yakuake relies much more on keyboard shortcuts (which I like but others might find disturbing).

Under the tab bar, there’s a special title bar. In the right corner, there are three buttons. Yakuake can be configured to go away whenever it loses focus, which many users find clever (not me!). So, the first button, the one with the + sign, controls the retract behavior. If the + button is pressed, Yakuake will stay on top until you hit the activation key (F12). The middle button has a downward pointing arrow, which gives you a quick configuration menu, and next to it, there’s the X button, which quits Yakuake.

Yakuake in action (click in the image to get a larger image)

Configuring Yakuake

One thing that users may find confusing is that Yakuake do not have a single configure dialog. The middle titlebar button gives you some of the options; such as terminal proportions, animation duration, and access and control keys. (Tip: make sure to check the control key dialog so you know all the keyboard shortcuts.). If you right click on the terminal body, you get a context menu with terminal-related options, such as appearence, history and character encoding.

Get it now

Yakuake is in the Ubuntu Edgy/Dapper and Debian repositories.
Yakuake is inspired by Kuake, and there is a similar Gnome application called Tilda, both are in the repositories as well.

Posted in Debian, Ubuntu | 15 Comments »

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