How To Take screenshots From The Linux Terminal With Scrot

Linux has dozens of screenshotting tools. These tools have different features and allow users to quickly take pictures of what they see on their desktop, save it in different formats, and share it with friends. The trouble is, most of these screenshot tools are bloated GUIs that don’t always work. If you’re tired of GUI screenshot tools that don’t always do their job, the Scrot screenshot tool may be just what you need. It lets you take screenshots from the Linux terminal and saves you the trouble of going through a GUI.

Install Scrot

The Scrot tool is pretty well-known, and many people use it to take screenshots, especially on lightweight desktop environments like LXQt, or with tiling window managers like AwesomeWM, i3, and others. To install the software, open up a terminal window and follow the command instructions that correspond with your Linux operating system.

Note: you need to be running Ubuntu, Debian, Arch Linux, Fedora, or OpenSUSE to run Scrot. If you’re not on one of these Linux distributions, you may need to compile from source.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install scrot

Debian

sudo apt-get install scrot

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S scrot

Fedora

sudo dnf install scrot -y

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install scrot

Generic Linux

The Scrot screenshotting tool is one of the best terminal applications that can take screenshots of what’s happening on the Linux desktop. As a result, many distributions — even obscure ones distribute it in their software sources. That said, if you’re not able to find an installable package, building the code from source is the next best thing.

For whatever reason, the website that hosts the downloadable packages for Scrot is down. Luckily, thanks to Archive.org, it’s possible to download the code regardless. In a terminal, use the wget command and grab the Scrot sources.

wget https://web.archive.org/web/20060716123357if_/http://linuxbrit.co.uk:80/downloads/scrot-0.8.tar.gz

Extract the Scrot source code to your Linux PC using the tar command.

tar -xvzf scrot-0.8.tar.gz

Move into the code folder with CD and read the README file using cat.

cd scrot-0.8

cat README

The README file outlines how to build the code, but doesn’t include any information about the dependencies you’ll likely need for a successful build environment. Start the build by running the configure script. This script will scan your Linux PC for the correct dependencies. If you’re missing any, it’ll tell you what to install.

./configure

The configure command will only finish if you’ve got all of the dependencies up and running. If the configure script finishes, build the Scrot software.

make

The make command will compile everything rather quickly, as Scrot isn’t a large piece of software. When the process is complete, finish up by installing it into the system.

su -c "make install"

Using Scrot

Scrot is a terminal application, so to take a screenshot, you’ll need to have quick access to a terminal. Open up a terminal and use the following command to take a screenshot of what’s on your screen.

scrot

If you run the command above, your screenshot will end up in /home/username/.  The screenshot is instant, and you’ll get no feedback about the screenshot you just took. Want something a little more user-friendly? Try the “c” switch. Adding the “c” switch to scrot will print out a countdown timer. The timer feature is helpful, as it makes the user more aware of when the screenshot happens.

scrot -c

Want to improve the countdown in Scrot further? Try out the “d” switch. It lets users specify (in seconds) when Scrot should take the shot.

Note: replace X with your desired number.

scrot -cd X

The Scrot screenshot tool lets users take a screenshot of the current window in focus by way of the “z” switch. To use it, do:

scrot -cd X -z

Or, if you prefer not to use a timer, try the following command.

scrot -z

An incredibly useful feature that a lot of screenshotting tools on Linux have is their ability to take screenshots of individual rectangular areas of the desktop. The Scrot screenshot feature also has this ability, and it’s accessible via the “s” switch.

scrot -cd X -s

To take a screenshot of a particular region without a countdown do:

scrot -s

Save Scrot Options

The Scrot screenshot tool has a lot of options, switches, and features. If you’re a newbie, these different options may be hard to remember. While it’s quite easy to use the “h” switch, it’s much better to save the help instructions to a text file for later.

To save the Scrot options for later, you’ll need to run the “h” switch option through the redirect command.

scrot -h >> ~/Documents/scrot-options.txt

At any time, you can open up the Scrot document file you’ve saved for later by launching the file manager, clicking on “Documents” and looking for “scrot-options.txt.”

Read How To Take screenshots From The Linux Terminal With Scrot by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Upgrade Fedora Linux

Fedora Linux is an operating system mainly targeted towards users who know what they’re doing. Getting it set up isn’t like Ubuntu or Linux Mint, and it takes some know-how to use it day to day.

Despite all of the complexities of this operating system, the upgrade process is one of the most natural and most hands-off in all of Linux. Very few distributions come close. Are you a new Fedora Linux user? Don’t know how upgrading works? If so, create a backup of your critical data and follow along to learn how to upgrade Fedora Linux  to the latest version.

Note: don’t feel like going through this process? Consider downloading the latest ISO of Fedora Linux and re-installing instead.

Upgrade Fedora Linux With Gnome Software

Fedora Linux is one of the easiest ways to get the latest version of Gnome Shell, Gnome Software, and the entire suite of Gnome applications.

If you’re using the main release of Fedora with Gnome, the upgrade process couldn’t be easier. To do it, log into your Fedora Linux PC and open up the Gnome Software application.

In Gnome Software, there are three separate panels. Choose the “Updates” panel, and look for the refresh button. Click the refresh button and allow Gnome Software to look for new updates.

When the refreshing process completes, the Software app will display all updates available. If the app discovers a new version of Fedora Linux, you’ll see a message that says a new version of Fedora is “ready to be installed”.

Start the upgrade by clicking “Install,” followed by “Restart & Install Upgrade.”

Clicking the “Restart & Install Upgrade” button will reboot Fedora Linux to the Grub bootloader. Don’t press any buttons, or try to load in one of the many options in the menu. Instead, sit back and let the OS automatically load up.

As it loads up, you’ll see a screen that has the Fedora logo slowly filling up with a white color. This screen featuring this the logo is the Fedora upgrade area. Sit back, let the emblem fill all the way up. When it’s complete, you’ll have finished updating to the newest version of Fedora Linux.

Upgrade Fedora Linux Via DNF

Fedora Linux has a lot of different flavors, not just Gnome Shell. There are several different versions (KDE, Cinnamon, XFCE, Mate, etc.). As a result, the project can’t create a special upgrade tool for each.

Instead, if you’re using an alternative spin to the Gnome version of Fedora the best path to a new release is through DNF in the terminal. Luckily, It’s efficient, quick, and about as easy as Gnome Software.

Before starting the upgrade in DNF, however, some things need to be done. Mainly, you’ll need to install any pending software updates on the system.  To install updates, open the terminal and run the following commands.

sudo dnf refresh
sudo dnf upgrade -y

Let DNF install any updates on your Fedora Linux PC. When the update completes, it’s time to start the distribution upgrade process. This process begins by installing the DNF upgrade plugin to the system.

sudo dnf install dnf-plugin-system-upgrade -y

This plugin allows Fedora users to quickly grab a new version of the operating system directly through the terminal. To use this plugin, you’ll need to specify the latest Fedora release number.

In this tutorial, we’re using Fedora 27 to upgrade to Fedora 28, as it is the newest release. If you’re reading this tutorial in the future, be sure to change “28” in the command below to the version you’re trying to install.

sudo dnf system-upgrade download --releasever=28

The system-upgrade command works by downloading all of the individual updates available to your system. These downloads are enormous, so you’ll need to be patient and let the command run its course.

When the upgrade command finishes downloading all of the packages and essential files that Fedora needs to do the upgrade, it’s time to complete the upgrade process.

Much like in the Gnome Software method, Fedora Linux needs to be in a state of “upgrading” to change to a new release. To get to this state through the terminal, you’ll have to run the system-upgrade command, with the reboot modifier.

sudo dnf system-upgrade reboot

As Fedora reboots the Grub menu selection screen will appear. Don’t press anything, or attempt to load another operating system. Keep your hands off the keyboard and let Fedora Linux boot on its own.

During the upgrade, pay attention to what the messages say as they appear on the screen. Let Fedora handle everything. When the OS finishes upgrading, it will automatically restart.

To use the new version of Fedora Linux, enter your user details and log back in!

Read How To Upgrade Fedora Linux by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Try Different Desktop Environments On Ubuntu

Ubuntu Linux has a unique desktop environment. It has a dock on the left side with shortcut icons in it, and a panel at the top of the screen where users can access things like WiFi, audio controls, etc. Overall, it’s a somewhat unique, user-friendly setup. The great Ubuntu desktop setup is handy, but it’s not for everyone. Thankfully, Ubuntu is Linux and has dozens of other desktop environments to use in its place. Here’s how to install and try out different desktop environments on Ubuntu.

KDE Plasma

KDE Plasma is the number one alternative to Ubuntu’s Gnome Shell desktop environment. It’s got some of the same amazing graphical effects, and options for users to take advantage of. However, unlike the Ubuntu Gnome Shell, it uses a more traditional Windows-like experience.

Thanks to how Ubuntu works, it’s easy to transform any traditional Ubuntu Gnome Shell desktop into a fully functional Kubuntu setup. To start the transformation, you’ll need to open up a terminal window and install the Kubuntu Desktop meta-package.

sudo apt install kubuntu-desktop -y

During the installation, Dpkg will detect that the Kubuntu meta-package is trying to set up the KDE desktop manager, rather than sticking with the one that is already set up. In the terminal, look out for a purple dialog box. This dialog box will ask you to choose between the KDE desktop manager or the Gnome one.

Using the arrow keys, highlight the “SDDM” option and press the enter key on your keyboard.

When the Kubuntu installation is complete, reboot your Ubuntu PC. When it starts back up, you’ll notice that the traditional Ubuntu loading screen is now a Kubuntu loading screen.

At the SDDM menu, Kubuntu should be the default. If it’s not, look for “session” and set it to Kbuntu. Then, enter your user details, and KDE Plasma is ready to use!

XFCE4

The Ubuntu Gnome setup is beautiful, but that beauty comes at the cost of user performance. If you’ve recently installed Ubuntu on your PC only to find out that the desktop isn’t responsive enough and using too much memory, don’t give up on it! Instead, it’s a good idea to switch to one of the lightweight alternative desktops that Ubuntu has to offer, like the Xubuntu XFCE4 desktop.

To be clear, XFCE4 isn’t the only lightweight desktop environment. However, it is one of the best options for those on old PC’s. To install it, you’ll need the Xubuntu desktop meta-package. This package will pull in XFCE4, along with all of the other essential programs and tools it uses.

sudo apt install xubuntu-desktop -y

Let the Xubuntu desktop install and when the installation process finishes, reboot your Ubuntu PC. As it starts up, you’ll notice that the traditional Ubuntu loading screen is now a Xubuntu one.

At the login screen, find “session.” In the session menu, select “Xubuntu” and log in to be greeted with Xubuntu.

LXQt

LXQt is an extremely lightweight desktop environment that is highly customizable and built with the latest Qt technologies. On Ubuntu, this experience is easily accessible by using Lubuntu.

The Lubuntu version of Ubuntu, aside from having LXQt, comes with slim alternatives to your favorite programs found in the traditional Ubuntu setup. If you’re interested in trying it out, grab the latest Lubuntu meta-package.

sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop -y

Installing the Lubuntu desktop meta-package will force you to choose between the default Gnome Display Manager (GDM), or the one commonly used with Lubuntu (SDDM).

In the terminal, select “sddm” to tell Ubuntu to use the Lubuntu desktop manager from now on. Once that’s setup, reboot your Linux PC. As it comes back on, find “session” in SDDM, select “Lubuntu,” or “LXQt.”

Upon login, you should see your new Lubuntu setup!

Budgie

The Budgie Desktop is synonymous with Solus, as it’s the Linux project that primarily works on it. With that said, there is an Ubuntu flavor that uses it as it’s primary desktop environment.

Budgie is born of Gnome Shell, so it performs similarly. As a result, users can enjoy a Gnome-like experience, while enjoying a more traditional, Windows-like layout.

If you’re itching to switch to the Budgie desktop environment on Ubuntu, you’ll need to install the Ubuntu Budgie meta-package.

sudo apt install ubuntu-budgie-desktop -y

Budgie works fine alongside Gnome, so it’s okay to stick with Ubuntu’s default of GDM. That said, the developers prefer to use it with LightDM.

To switch to LightDM, select the “lightdm” in the terminal prompt when it comes up.

After installing the Ubuntu Budgie meta-package, restart your PC. When it comes back from the restart, enter your user details and log in. Keep in mind that if you chose to use GDM, you’d need to click “session” then “Ubuntu Budgie” or “Budgie” before logging in.

Mate

The Mate Desktop environment is an effort to preserve the old Gnome 2 desktop from years past. Despite this, it’s a very modern, efficient desktop environment and is perfect for users who don’t care about fancy effects and need to get work done.

Mate is everywhere on every mainstream Linux distribution. On Ubuntu, users can easily access it by installing the Ubuntu Mate meta-package.

Like all of the other desktop meta-packages, installing the Ubuntu Mate one will pull in everything from the Mate core components, to programs, and everything else.

Get Ubuntu Mate going by running the following command in a terminal window.

sudo apt install ubuntu-mate-desktop -y

Ubuntu Mate, like many others, uses LightDM, rather than what the default Ubuntu setup uses, so be sure to select “lightdm” during the installation process.

When the installer finishes, reboot your PC. When it comes back up, click the session icon, select Mate, and log in to enjoy your new Ubuntu Mate setup!

Read How To Try Different Desktop Environments On Ubuntu by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Upgrade To Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint 19 came out recently, and it’s got people very excited. With this new release come dozens of improvements to the Cinnamon desktop, as well as enhancements to TimeShift, Mint Update, and more!

If you’re a user of Linux Mint but don’t know how to upgrade yo Linux Mint 19, we’ve got you covered. Follow along, and soon you’ll be using Linux Mint 19 “Tara!”

Note: don’t feel like dealing with the update manager? If you’re an advance Mint user, download and install an ISO of version 19 to get the latest version.

Create A Backup

Upgrading your PC can be scary. Even though Linux Mint is very safe, especially during these upgrades, bad things can happen, and that’s why it’s imperative to create a backup with Time Shift before continuing.

Note: if you do not already have Time Shift on Linux Mint, you may need to install it. To install it, open up a terminal and do sudo apt install timeshift.

Not sure how to use the Time Shift backup system on Linux Mint? Open it up on your PC and follow our guide to learn how to create a complete system backup.

Make sure that when doing the Time Shift backup that you do not do it on the same hard drive you’re upgrading Linux Mint on. If a problem occurs you could lose the backup. Instead, select an external hard drive, flash drive, SD card or another internal hard drive.

LightDM On Mint

On Linux Mint 18, as well as previous versions, Mint Desktop Manager has long been the official desktop manager, and the Mint project maintains it. As of version 19 of Linux Mint, MDM is not in use. Instead, it uses LightDM.

The LightDM desktop manager is much more sophisticated, lighter, and better looking. Before attempting to update to the new release of Mint, you must disable MDM and switch it with LightDM.

Start the MDM removal process by installing LightDM through the terminal.

sudo apt install lightdm

Running this command will force Linux Mint to re-evaluate what desktop manager it should use, and you’ll notice a dialog box with”default display manager” appear in the terminal.

Note: if the dialog box doesn’t appear automatically, try running sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm.

Select “lightdm” in the dialog box that appears. Picking the “lightdm” option will allow Linux Mint to transition to the new LightDM setup that Mint 19 uses.

Finish up the transition process by completely purging MDM from your system.

sudo apt remove mdm might-mdm-themes* --purge

Upgrade To Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu derivative. This fact allows the Mint OS to follow an Ubuntu-like upgrade system, which requires very little input from the user.

To start off the process, you’ll need to ensure your Linux Mint PC is entirely up to date. Thankfully, updating Linux Mint, like many other things on the OS, is quick and painless.

Open Update Manager, click “Refresh” and then select “Install Updates.” Alternatively, open up a terminal and use the following commands to get your Mint PC up to date.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

Now that everything is up to date, it’s time to upgrade to Linux Mint 19. Upgrading happens with a terminal program known as “mintupgrade.”

The Mintupgrade tool is quite efficient and easy to understand, even if it’s text-based. Everything is automatic, and it takes the complicated things (like switching the Apt sources around, checking if upgrading is a good idea, etc.), and simplifies them.

The first thing Mintupgrade must do is check if there’s a new release available. Do this by running the check command.

mintupgrade check

The check command will refresh Mint, swap your current version of Linux Mint to the new Mint 19 software sources, and run an upgrade simulation (for safety’s sake).

Follow along with the on-screen instructions, and read them carefully. If you’re happy with the results of the upgrade simulation, continue with the process by executing the download command in the terminal window.

mintupgrade download

Running the download command will download all of the necessary upgrade packages (and other important files) to your Linux Mint PC. This process is mostly automatic, but you’ll still need to pay attention to the prompts that appear.

When the download command is complete, run the upgrade command. Upgrade, when run, will apply all of the downloaded packages, and perform the transition from Linux Mint 18 to the newly released Linux Mint 19.

Upgrading between versions of Linux Mint isn’t tedious, though it does take quite a long time. Be patient, and let the Mintupgrade program do its job.

When the process is complete, close the terminal and reboot your Linux Mint PC. After logging back in, you should be using the newest version of Mint!

Read How To Upgrade To Linux Mint 19 by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter

How To Upgrade Debian Linux To A New Release

Debian Linux doesn’t upgrade often. Usually, the distribution will stick with a single release for more than a year at a time. Since new versions are rare, many users don’t know how to upgrade Debian Linux to a new release.

The Debian upgrade process is painless and relatively quick. Though, it doesn’t work like other Linux distributions. Before you upgrade Debian Linux, you’ll need to understand what “codenames” and “branches” are.

Debian Codenames And Branches

Each version of the OS has a codename and a release branch. Codenames are nicknames that the Debian development team gives out as a unique identifier for each version of the OS. These codenames aren’t particularly important in the grand scheme of things and the release branch name matters a lot more.

What’s a release branch? It’s the way Debian developers can tell its users what types of updates they’ll receive, and how stable the OS is. On Debian, there are about four separate release branches. These branches are labeled Stable, Testing, Unstable, and Experimental. It’s easy to understand what these branches mean, without going too far into it, as they explain themselves.

When upgrading to a new version of Debian Linux, you’ll have to change the codename or release branch in the sources file. Doing this allows the system to start the conversion from the old version to the new version. However, please understand that sometimes it may not be enough to change the release branch, as the new version isn’t there yet.

For example, Debian 10 is about to be the new Stable release, but we still have Debian Stable (9), so just doing an update with “Stable” in the sources isn’t enough. Instead, users who want to use the new version of Debian need to switch “Stable” to “Buster.”

Change Debian Sources

On Debian, the apt sources are your best friend. Mastering this file will let you install all kinds of software quite easily even if it’s not available in the provided software sources for your installation. During upgrades, you’ll need to tinker with this file. Luckily, it’s not that difficult, and only a few things need modifying.

As of 2018, the Debian community is anticipating Debian 10, which will be the latest “Stable” release. The codename for this release is Buster, so this is the codename we’ll be working with for this tutorial. If you’re reading this in the future, replace “Buster” with the upcoming version’s codename.

The Debian sources file can easily be modified right from the terminal, as it’s a traditional text configuration file. To edit it, open up a new terminal window and switch from your user to the root user. Switch to root by executing the su command.

su -

Now that you’ve got su access, it’s possible to touch any part of the system with no limits — including the sources file. Launch the sources file with the Nano text editing tool.

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

In the Debian sources file, you’ll notice dozens of software repositories. These repositories are how your Debian PC regularly accesses updates and installs software. To upgrade, change all instances of “stable” to “buster.”

Now that the sources file has all instances of “stable”  set to the new “buster” codename look through and remove any third-party software sources from the file. While it might be annoying to have to remove links to software you need, doing this is a good idea, as you have no idea if the new version supports it yet. These third-party software sources can always be re-added after the fact.

In the sources file press Ctrl + O to save the changes, exit with Ctrl + X and run the update command to finalize the changes.

Note: it’s also possible to transition Debian from Stable to Unstable, Testing or Experimental. Instead of changing everything to “buster,” try changing it to your desired branch and follow the tutorial.

apt-get update

After running the update, Debian will have replaced all software available to you from Stable to Buster. Replacing the software sources is the first step before running the final upgrade. However, before doing the actual update, it’s a good idea to clean up stray files and packages. Clean everything by running the autoremove and clean commands.

apt-get autoremove

apt-get autoclean

Running autoclean and autoremove will uninstall orphaned packages on your system and clean up the package cache.

Upgrading to a new release of Debian requires two separate commands. Upgrade and dist-upgrade. Using the upgrade command will renew all of the software already on your system. The dist-upgrade command will change your current release of Debian to the new Buster release.

apt-get upgrade -y

apt-get dist-upgrade

The dist-upgrade command takes a while, but when it finishes your upgrade is complete. To finish up, restart your Debian Linux PC and re-login.

Read How To Upgrade Debian Linux To A New Release by Derrik Diener on AddictiveTips – Tech tips to make you smarter