Linux Mint 19.3 has been released

Linux Mint 19.3 has been released. The update of the popular Linux distribution is available in the flavors Xfce, Mate and Cinnamon as usually. The new version of the Linux distribution is a long term support release that will be supported until 2023.

New and existing users may download the ISO images from the official project download site. The new version introduces several changes and new features, brings refinements, and bug fixes among other things.

Tip: Check out the how to upgrade to Linux Mint 19.3 guide for instructions on upgrading existing installations.

All three desktop environments feature the same core that is made up of a Linux kernel 5.0 and is based on Ubuntu 18.04.

linux mint 19.3

Let us start with something that is no longer included by default in any of the Linux Mint editions: GIMP. The image editor is no longer preinstalled but since we are talking Linux, can be installed just like any other Linux application with a couple of clicks. Our guide on installing third-party software in Linux Mint may help you out in case you are in need of guidance.

The developers of Linux Mint made the decision to focus on the simpler app Drawing which supports basic image editing options only. Windows users may be reminded of Paint, which is included natively in Windows, and third-party image editors such as, Photoshop or GIMP that are more powerful but need to be installed manually.

Another change that will be noted by many Linux Mint users is the focus on the media player Celluloid in the new release. Previous versions of Linux Mint provided the app Xplayer instead. Celluloid is a MPV frontend and offers better performance and hardware acceleration according to the team.

The apps that got replaced does not end here. The note taking application Tomboy has been replaced with Gnote. Gnote offers the same functionality — with the notable exception of the system tray icon — but is based on modern technology unlike Tomboy (which, among other things did not support HIDPI).

Support for HIDPI is almost completed in the new release; it is supported by all applications except for Hexchat and Qt5Settings.

Linux Mint 19.3 users may set time zones in the language settings along with locale and region.

Linux Mint 19.3 features a new System Reports feature that displays an icon in the system tray area. The app is designed to inform users of the system about potential issues. The team notes that it may hint at missing language packs, multimedia codecs, or newer hardware drivers that are available.

Improvements for all editions:

  • New status tray application XAppStatusIcon that supports HIDPI, support for dark themes and more.
  • Blueberry app improvements with better detection and error reporting.
  • Hardware detection tool added to the BIOS Menu.Also, redesigned boot menu.


  • Panel Zones may now have their own text and symbolic icon sizes.
  • Nemo context menu can now be customized to add or remove entries.
  • Improved startup animation and speed optimizations.
  • Option to disable touchpad when a mouse is connected.
  • Various other improvements across the board (see what is new for an overview)


  • Latest Xfce 4.14 included which supports HIDPI.
  • Window manage supports vsync,  HIDPI, and for Xinput2.
  • Panel and desktop support RandR’s monitor feature (improved window grouping, new default clock format, orientation option, advanced the wallpaper and more).
  • New settings dialog to manage color profiles.
  • Display settings support the saving and loading of multi-display configurations.
  • Session manager supports hybrid-sleep and comes with other improvements.
  • Thumbnails supports Fujifilm RAF format.
  • Application finder may be opened in a single window.
  • Notification service gets logging and do not disturb option.
  • Various other improvements across the board. See what is new in Xfce here.

Now You:Have you tried the new Linux Mint 19.3 already? What is your impression?

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Mutt is a command line email app for Linux and here's how to set it up

Mutt is a command line email app for Linux; we continue our series of reviews for Linux-based command line applications. Check out MusicCube (music player) or nnn (file manager).

Like many terminal programs, it too has a learning curve, perhaps more than the average app. We’ll try to help simplify the process to set it up and explain how to use it.

Mutt view inbox

Open a terminal to run the app and type mutt. The app’s running but can’t work because you haven’t setup your email account.

This is where you may get confused: How do I set up Mutt?

Create the configuration file

We need to place the configuration file “muttrc” in the location ~/.mutt/muttrc. Use the mkdir command or manually create it in your home/USERNAME folder. Edit the muttrc using any text editor; this document will contain the settings which are required to authenticate the email account.

Tip: I’ll tell you how I learned to use the program. Add one line (command) to the muttrc at a time, run the app and see what happens. It took some trial and error, but it was a rewarding experience.

If you’re using 2-factor authentication (and you certainly should), you’ll need to use an app password (for Gmail, Outlook, etc) to login.

Add the following lines to the muttrc file.

set imap_user = [email protected]
set imap_pass = YOUR PASSWORD

Let’s add the URL for the account. Say, we’re going to use Gmail over IMAP and SMTP, you should add this line:

set folder = imaps://

Note: When you try to send a mail, mutt will ask you to enter the password, you can set the smtp_pass attribute to use your IMAP password to avoid manually entering it every time.

We’ll need a folder to download your mails from your inbox. Without this, Mutt cannot function. So add the following command to the config.

set spoolfile = +INBOX

You may have noticed that mutt takes a long time to start up (fetching message headers). To reduce this, you can set up the cache using the command

set header_cache = ~/.cache/mutt

Try running mutt again and it should start instantly, because the cache has been stored locally. Similarly, you can define more settings for the Sent, Drafts folders, etc.

Mutt is a command line email app for Linux and here's how to set it up


The menu bar at the top of the window lets you navigate between various tabs.  A list of keyboard shortcuts is displayed just below the menubar. The large pane in the center is the message viewer pane. You will see the mails that’re in your inbox along with the date, name of the sender and email subject. Highlight a message (use the arrow keys), and press enter to view the message.You can scroll down the message/inbox using Page Down and Page Up.

Mutt does not have an email composer built-in, so you’ll need to use a text editor. You can use advanced ones like Vim, emacs, or stick to the basic editors.

Tip: Add the command set editor=EDITOR to your muttrc. Replace the EDITOR with your favorite app, for e.g. set editor=emacs.

Press m to compose a new mail, and you’ll be prompted to select the recipient’s email address, and then the subject. The editor will open in the next step. Save the document and close it. Now, on the send screen in mutt, hit y to send the mail.

Mutt send mail

Try sending an email to yourself to test the functionality and make sure that everything is set up correctly.

Mutt view email

Tip: Press ? to access the built-in help section at anytime.

Mutt help

Here are a few important shortcuts

q = Quit
d = Delete
m = Mail (Compose)
r = Reply
y = Send
i = exit (when reading/sending mails)

There are a lot of configuration files made by other users that you can use. Here’s mine which should let you receive, read, send emails.

set imap_user = [email protected]
set realname = “YOUR NAME”
set from = “[email protected]
set folder = imaps://
set smtp_url = “smtps://[email protected]
set ssl_force_tls = yes
set header_cache = ~/.cache/mutt
set spoolfile = +Inbox
set record = “+Sent”
set postponed = “+Drafts”
set trash = “+Trash”
set editor = “emacs”

The ArchLinux Wiki for Mutt was used as a reference source for this article.

I didn’t want to make this a basic tutorial, but seeing as the official Wiki was a bit confusing, I wrote one to help people. Maybe I’ll write a follow-up with advanced options, or review the NeoMutt client soon.

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nnn is an excellent command line based file manager for Linux, macOS and BSDs

The program nnn is one of the lightest file managers available for Linux, macOS, BSDs. It is not your traditional file browser though as it lacks a graphical user interface.

Tip: if you are looking for a traditional file manager instead, check out File Commander.

nnn is an excellent command line based file manager for Linux, macOS and BSDs

To install it, download one of the pre-compiled binaries from the releases page. Since it is a command line interface app, fire up a terminal and type nnn to launch it. There you go, a file manager inside the terminal. I came across it in a YouTube video by Luke Smith and was intrigued by it.


Use the up and down arrow keys to navigate up or down in the file and folder structure, and left and right arrow keys go back or forward. The Enter-key opens a folder or file, and you can use Page Up or Down to scroll up and down a directory. Use the Q key to quit the app or exit certain views.

nnn folder view

Note: Hit the ? key to view a cheat-sheet of all the keyboard shortcuts. Use the H key when in the help menu to view an explanation of the shortcuts.

nnn help

Speaking of which there are many keyboard shortcuts which use the Shift and Control key for combos. For e.g. you can use Shift + P to copy files, Ctrl + O to open with (and enter the name of the file handler program). The numbers that you see at the top can be activated by holding down the Shift-key and pressing the corresponding number on the keyboard. These work like tabs in other programs so that you may have different views open.

Selecting files

Want to select a single file? Highlight it and hit the space key. Once selected, you may perform actions on the selection such as using F2 to rename the file.  Control is used for range selection (that’s the same as multi selection which you would do with Shift).

Once you’re in a folder, you can access the files in it by selecting them. Since nnn lacks a previewer, it will open the files in their default handler app. But the one exception to this is text documents which it can open directly. You can edit text files by hitting e, or view them by using p.

nnn text viewer

Search for folders instantly

nnn has an as-you-type search which can be toggled with the / key. It supports regex and substring formats; the functionality provides advanced search functionality but advanced queries require that users know how to use regular expressions and the options provided by the file manager.

nnn help detailed

File Archiver

Did you know nnn can be used as a file archiver? It can open, extract and create archives. Use F to create an archive, and Ctrl + F to extract one. T opens the archive and Shift + F lists the contents of the archive.


nnn supports plugins which greatly increase its functionality (play music, upload to imgur, view PDF, etc). You can install plugins with the command:

curl -Ls | sh

nnn plugins

To access plugins use Shift + R, which displays a list of available plugins. Execute the plugin with the enter key. For e.g. if you wanted to calculate the checksum value of a file, you should select the file. Then use Shift + R, highlight the checksum plugin and enter.

I haven’t scratched nnn’s surface. You can do a lot more with the program, but this should hopefully get you started with the basics.

This article was partially based on the official nnn Wiki. I simplified it a bit.

Closing Words

The file manager nnn is an advanced tool that may appeal to users who use Terminal regularly the most. Its advanced capabilities may make it interesting to advanced users who need to locate specific files and folders quickly, or run actions on those. The available plugins extend the functionality of the program significantly.

Now You: What is your favorite file manager on *nix systems?

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Conky is a highly customizable system monitor for Linux

A couple of months ago, we introduced you to a Windows program called Sidebar Diagnostics; this time, we are going to take a look at a similar program for Linux.

Conky must be a familiar name if you have been using Linux for a while. It is a fork of a now defunct app called Torsmo.

While it is a fork in the technical sense, it is more advanced than Torsmo. If you’re running Ubuntu, Debian, Linux Mint, etc, you can just run the following command in a Terminal

$ sudo apt-get install conky

For other distros, refer to the official GitHub page on how to install Conky.

To start the program, open a Terminal and just type the word conky and hit enter. You should see a new window pop-up. By default, Conky displays the following stats: Uptime, Frequency, RAM Usage, Swap Usage, CPU Usage, Processes, File Systems (storage), and Networking.

It also lists the current top processes along with the memory and CPU usage of each; very useful for users and administrators who want to analyze the performance of the Linux system or keep an eye on resource usage.

Tip: To exit the app, use the command killall conky.

Customizing Conky

The program’s highlight is the customization options that it offers. Navigate to the Conky.conf file and open it in a text editor.  Copy the content of the text file as we’ll be using it as a guideline. To begin configuring the app, create a file called .Conkyrc in the home folder. Paste the copied text into this and start editing it.

For e.g. to change the white text to something else like say blue, edit the default_outline_color = ‘white’, and replace the word ‘white’ with blue. Next try moving the conky interface to the right or adding a new font and using it. Similarly you can change the values of the colors of other elements, font type, size, transparency, and more. You can get creative with it and even add or remove elements that are displayed in the widget.

There are many user configurations available online. So you can just download the one that you like and use it if you don’t want to customize it yourself. You can also use user-created configs, themes, for learning how to customize/theme Conky from scratch. Speaking of which, there are many themes available for Conky. Here is how you install a theme that you have downloaded.

Tip: check out DeviantArt for a selection of themes.

Download any theme. I’ll be using the Simple Conky theme from Deviantart. You will need the Ostrich Sans font if you want it to look as it does on the screenshot. Place the font’s folder in the Usr/Share/Fonts/TrueType folder.

Extract the theme’s archive to the Home folder, and rename conkyrc to .conkyrc. Restart conky How easy was that? You can of course, customize it further if you want to modify it.

Closing Words

Conky is a powerful system monitor for Linux systems. Configuration and customization options are powerful but fiddly, especially for users who are not used to editing configuration files manually.

Now You: Do you monitor your system’s performance and hardware metrics?

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Celluloid is a really good mpv frontend for Linux

If you are a Linux user who wants a front-end for the popular MPV video player, Celluloid may be your best bet.

I installed the application via flatpak but you can find quite a few packages linked at the official GitHub; installation instructions for flatpak are available on the same page.

Celluloid mpv frontend for Linux

The GUI of Celluloid is quite similar to most Linux apps, and quite minimal. Click on the + button in the top left corner to open a video, or drag and drop one on to the interface. You can also load a web URL to stream content directly using the player from the Open Location menu.

Celluloid is a really good mpv frontend for Linux

Celluloid has a couple of buttons in the top right corner. The first button is for toggling full-screen mode,  second (hamburger menu) lets you access a few options. You can toggle the controls (playback bar) and the playlist (hit F9 to view), and save a playlist from this menu. It also houses options to select the video track, audio track and the subtitle.

Click on the Preferences menu item to access the program options. You can toggle the dark theme for the interface,there are settings to remember the last file location (not the playback time, but the folder location), and an option to hide the mouse cursor automatically in window mode. Speaking of which, you can auto-hide the playback controls by enabling the “Use floating controls in Windowed mode”.

Celluloid lets you select where the MPV configuration file is located and lets you load your custom settings with ease. If you don’t have one, you can create one using our beginner friendly guide as reference, or if you have a Windows computer, maybe you can use Glow to generate an MPV config file quickly. The miscellaneous section has a few other options such as a setting to ignore playback errors, and to always open the video in a new window. You can also set custom settings (command line options) using the “Extra MPV Options” text field, located in the Miscellaneous tab.

MPV user scripts are compatible with Celluloid. To add them, navigate to the Plugins tab which is found under the Preferences menu. You can view the list of Celluloid’s keyboard shortcuts from the menu as well. There are 3 pages of shortcuts, which are very useful, e.g. to control the video size, volume, take screenshots, adjust subtitles, and more using the shortcuts.

Celluloid Linux keyboard shortcuts

Closing Words

The playback interface lets you pause and play a video with a right-click which I found to be useful. I had no problems with videos played with Celluloid; the audio quality and the whole media playback experience was just as good as the regular MPV application that I use on Windows. The program is light on resources, and there is no learning curve which is always a good thing.

Celluloid is written in GTK+, and was formerly called GNOME MPV. I would say that its interface is slightly more appealing than the Windows-only MPV.NET front-end.

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Newsboat is a command line based RSS feed reader for Linux

Once upon a time, there used to be a Command line based RSS feed reader called Newsbeuter, but, like many a good program it too was abandoned.

Fortunately, another developer forked the source code and Newsboat was born. The program is quite user friendly and offers a great deal of customization options. I’m going to point out  the basics to get you started with the program.

Newsboat is a command line based RSS feed reader for Linux

How to install Newsboat the easy way

If you’re not familiar with installing libraries, I’d suggest using Snapd. To install it, just run

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install snapd

Once it’s installed, run the command

$ sudo snap install newsboat

Newsboat how to install snapd

This is the easiest way to install Newsboat. I’d recommend this for advanced users too because it takes like a minute and uses the least amount of disk space.

How to install Newsboat – compiling the latest version from source

Newsboat relies on several libraries (sqlite3, libcurl, libxml2, stfl, json-c, ncursesw, etc) and the developers do not distribute ready-to-use packages that contain the dependencies.  If you are an advanced user, you can install the libraries by using the terminal command “sudo apt install”. Make sure you use the developer version of the libraries, since you will need to compile the program.

For e.g. sudo apt-get install libsqlite3-dev

How to add RSS Feeds to Newsboat

Newsboat will not run unless you have a list of RSS Feeds that it can access. You have 2 options for this.

Import an OPML feed list (from Feedly, Inoreader, or other RSS feed readers, e.g. QuiteRSS or Newsflow). To do this open the terminal and use the command “newsboat -i my-feeds.opml” (replace my-feeds with the name of your opml file).

Newsboat imported feeds


Create a file called urls. Use a text editor, and save it in the Newsboat folder. For me it had to be placed at /home/ashwin/snap/newsboat/1471/.newsboat/

Open the urls file and paste the links of RSS feed URLS that you wish to access. Save and close it.

For example, you could add these to the urls file and Newsboat will display the corresponding feeds:

Newsboat feed list

The import OPML option basically creates the urls file for you. You can edit it after it has been created.

How to open Newsboat and use it

Open the Terminal and type newsboat. The program should load the urls file and you will be able to access the RSS feeds in the command line. When you are accessing a newly added feed, it may throw out some error. Hit the r key to reload it and Newsboat should be able to retrieve the feed.

Newsboat feed view

Use the arrow keys to navigate between the feeds. Optionally, you can type the number of the feed and hit enter to select it. Hit Enter again to open the selected feed. Repeat the steps to read an article from a feed. Press n to jump to the next unread feed. If you want to read the article in the browser, use o.

Here’s a screenshot of all the shortcuts available in Newsboat.

Newsboat keyboard shortcuts

Take some time to read the documentation on the official website to learn how to customize Newsboat. You can change the colour, add tags, set custom names for the feeds, etc.

Closing Words

I mostly use Feedly for my RSS requirements. But, they have been changing the design too much of late and it’s almost a pain to use it. I’m switching back to standalone readers.  Newsboat is a pretty cool way to read articles. Of course, not being able to see pictures from the posts is a con, as is the inability to interact with other content, e.g. links. I do like the minimal and distraction free reading experience.

Now You: Which feed reader do you use currently?

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SimpleScreenRecorder is a user friendly video capturing app for Linux

Video recording tools can be complex for many users. Besides requiring users to configure plenty of options, they often make use of technical terms such as bitrate, fps, codecs, sample rate and formats.

There are some solutions for users who are just getting started and those who want a simple app that makes configuration and recording a breeze, and one of them is called SimpleScreenRecorder.

SimpleScreenRecorder review

SimpleScreenRecorder is a user friendly video capturing app for Linux

The interface of the program is, simple? Jokes aside, the app has almost no learning curve and makes things easy even for users who are just getting started.

There are 4 recording options to choose from:

  • Record the entire screen
  • Record a fixed rectangle
  • Follow the cursor
  • Record OpenGL

Record the entire screen captures the fullscreen when selected. The second option “Record a fixed rectangle” allows you to record a particular area of the screen. There are a few ways to select the area: the easiest one is the select window option. Select it and click on the app window that you want to record. The select rectangle option lets you use your mouse to draw a rectangle on the screen and anything that is inside will be recorded.

You can also manually enter the screen position values (left, top, width, height) to select an area that you wish to record, though isn’t as easy as the other two options.

The profile option is used to save your settings; so if you want to record a video with similar settings, you might want to save that to a profile. SimpleScreenRecorder can record the cursor which is useful if you’re making tutorial videos.

The application can record the audio as well which means that you can use it to record games but also microphone input. If you have multiple sound cards, you can select which one should be used as the audio source.

Follow the cursor is an interesting option as it records a portion of the screen around the mouse cursor based on width and height that you set.

The OpenGL option is used for recording game videos and a script-injection method is used for this.

SimpleScreenRecorder video capturing app for Linux

Once you have selected the recording mode and configured settings, click on Continue. This will take you to the output settings and you may select from various output profiles.

SimpleScreenRecorder can save the videos in MKV, MP4, WebM, OGG and other video formats and choose from H.264, VP8, Theora among several video codecs. For audio, you can pick from Vorbis, MP3 and AAC or other audio codecs and set the bit rate. You can optionally set the timestamp to be displayed in the video as well. Select the folder that you want to save the video in and name your video.

There is one final screen, the actual recording screen. You can use this to watch a preview of the selected area to get an idea of what it looks like. And if it’s not to your liking, you can go back and start over. When you’re ready, hit the start recording button or use the default hotkey, Ctrl + R. You can change it to use Shift/Alt/Super (Windows key) and any alphabet key of your choice.

SimpleScreenRecorder for Linux

You can pause, cancel or save the recording at anytime. The information panel displays the total duration of the video, the input/output frame rate, size, bitrate, file name and file size. Do remember that this is a basic app which means that it does not feature a video editor.

Closing Words

I would say SimpleScreenRecorder is just as user-friendly as Windows’ Snipping Tool. Of course when it comes to video tools, there are a more options to configure but don’t let that put you off.

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Feh is a light-weight command-line image viewer for Linux

The default image viewer in most Linux distros is a fine option for many users, but if you want a distraction free alternative, Feh is a good option.

Feh’s interface is as barebones as it gets as it does not have any toolbars or buttons but is a command line interface application; because of that, it is very light on resources and still easy enough to use even for users who shy away from using the command line whenever possible.

Feh is a light-weight command-line image viewer for Linux

So, how do you use Feh?  There are 2 ways to do so: open a terminal in a folder that contains images, type “feh” and hit enter. The image viewer should open and display the first image of that folder. You can also right-click on images in the Files app (or other file managers) and select open with Feh.

The Slideshow mode of the viewer opens by default which means that you can view all images of the folder by using the right and left arrow keys, by left-clicking with the mouse, or using the scroll wheel. If you just want to open a single image you may type “feh filename.extension” instead to do so.

Like most CLI apps, Feh has a ton of keyboard shortcuts for a nearly mouse-free usage. For example, use feh -t to view the folder’s gallery in thumbnail view and click on any thumbnail to view the larger version.

There are 6 viewing modes that the program supports: Slideshow (default), Montage, Index, Thumbnail, Multiwindow and List.

  • Montage mode displays the images in a sequence.
  • Index mode displays the thumbnail and some of the image’s properties.
  • Multi window opens each image in its own window.
  • List mode displays the properties of the images in the folder in this order: Format, Width, Height, Pixels, Size, Alpha and Filename.

Feh is a command-line image viewer for Linux

I mentioned how you can open the slideshow and thumbnail. For the other modes, use the command feh followed by a space and the first letter of the mode, e.g., feh -m. The only exception is the multiwindow mode which uses feh -w as -m is already mapped to Montage.

Right-click on an image to access the context menu. Feh is not an image editor but a viewer application; don’t expect too many options.

You can rotate the picture and save it or set the image as your wallpaper. Feh supports some viewing options such as the ability to sort the list by the name of the file or directory, last modified, or even set it to random view. The application also has a built-in EXIF viewer that you can access from the Image Info menu. It will display the properties of the picture in a similar menu.

Feh has a few options that you can enable including auto-zoom, freeze window size or fullscreen. The only other editing options that Feh supports are the blur and sharpen tools. Hold the Control key and click with the mouse button and drag left to blur the photo or right to sharpen it. This can be useful if you want a background with a frosted glass look.

Feh supports common image formats such as JPG, PNG, BMP, GIF (non animated), etc. I’d advise going through the manual for more details about the keyboard shortcuts in the program. Nearly every command is customizable.

Closing Words

It may take some time to getting used to starting the image viewer from the command line (or right-click menu) and some users may dislike that from the get-go and select an image viewer with a proper interface instead for their image viewing needs on Linux. Check out our review of Nomacs if that is your cup of tea.

Linux users who spend the time getting used to Feh may find it suitable for many image viewing tasks.

Now You: which image viewer do you use and why?

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