Gnome Do is easily the coolest piece of software on any Linux desktop right now, so it's no surprise you want to try it for yourself and see whether it lives up to all the hype. Well, follow these simple instructions for Ubuntu 8.10 and you'll have it up and running in minutes - and you can get on with trying all its features!
We've included as many screenshots as we possibly can to make it easy enough for everyone to try Gnome Do - there's no excuse any more.
Step One: Save the authentication key for Gnome Do
Select this block of text and copy it to your clipboard by pressing Ctrl+C:
-----BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Version: SKS 1.0.10
-----END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK-----
Now go to Accessories > Text Editor to open up Gedit, then paste that block of text into the new document window.
Go to File > Save or press Ctrl+S to save the file. When you're prompted for a filename, call it "dokey".
Step Two: Add the Gnome Do key to Software Sources
From the System menu go to Administration > Software Sources, then enter your password when prompted.
In the Software Sources window, choose the Authentication tab and click the Import Key File button from the bottom-left corner of the window.
Browse to where you saved the "dokey" file a moment ago and select it.
When you press OK with "dokey" selected it should appear in the list of Trusted Software Providers.
Step Three: Add a new software source
Still inside the Software Sources window, choose the Third Party Software tab and click the Add button in the bottom-left corner of the window.
When prompted for "APT line", paste this into the box:
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/do-core/ppa/ubuntu intrepid main
You can replace "intrepid" with "hardy" or "jaunty" if you're using 8.04 or 9.04.
Click Add Source and you'll see the new source in the Third Party Software and it will already be enabled.
When you click Close to get rid of the Software Sources window, a box will appear telling you that the information about the available software is out of date - click Reload here.
Now be patient. This takes a few seconds to complete.
Step Four: Install Gnome Do
Once the Software Sources window has gone away, choose Administration > Synaptic Package Manager from the System menu.
When Synaptic appears, choose the Origin button near the bottom-left of the window, and it will show you a list of all the software sources you have configured.
In the list of software sources, you should see one called "ppa.launchpad.net/universe" - click that, and you should see the packages "gnome-do" and "gnome-do-plugins" appear in the top-right frame.
Right-click on "gnome-do" and choose Mark For Installation.
Installing gnome-do will automatically bring in lots of other dependencies, including the extra gnome-do-plugins package. Click Mark in the window that appears then click Apply from the toolbar to install it all.
Gnome Do is now installed - go to Applications > Accessories > Gnome Do to run it.
When it first runs, you'll see a large brown rectangle with two boxes inside and the words "Type to start searching." That's it, you're all done - have fun!
Er, wait a minute...
OK, OK - so maybe you'd like to hear a little bit about why Gnome Do is cool. After all, a brown box with some text isn't very interesting, right? Well, here are some tips to help you get started.
Type to start searching
When Gnome Do is active, just start pressing keys and it will match those keypresses against its database of interesting things. For example, typing "term" will match against Gnome Terminal and you'll see its icon appear - press Enter to run it.
The right-hand box shows you what action will be taken when you press Enter. For the Gnome Terminal, as you just saw, that was "Run". But if you press Tab to select the other box, then press the Down cursor key, you can bring up a list of possible options for what you have typed such as Copy To Clipboard.
Once Gnome is running, you can show and hide its window at any time by pressing Super+Space - the "Super" key is the Windows key for most people. So now you can run any program by pressing Windows+Space, typing a few letters in its name, then pressing Enter to run it.
We would recommend automatically running Gnome Do at system startup. To do that, click the small arrow in the top-right of the Gnome Do window and choose Preferences. From the General tab, check the first two options and click Close.
Gnome Do ships with a big stack of plugins and they are what really transforms it into something mind-bogglingly clever. From the Preferences window choose the Plugins tab, then change "Show Official Plugins" to "Show All Plugins". Here are the ones we'd recommend you try:
- Files and Folders
- Gnome Dictionary
- Google Contacts*
- Google Docs*
- Google Search
- Locate Files
We've put an asterisk next to the ones that need to be configured.
Taking the Microblogging plugin as an example - that's the one that lets you send short messages to Twitter and Identi.ca - press Windows+Space to bring up Gnome Do and start typing. When you're done, Gnome Do will probably recommend using Google Search to find that text, so press Tab then Down to show the list of options. Scroll down the list of options and choose Post to Identica, and Gnome Do will, er, do it. Easy!
If you find that Gnome Do is bringing up application matches when really you've just typed in a few words, what you need is Raw Text mode. To activate that, just press the full stop/period key (that's ".") before typing anything.
Making Gnome Do more beautiful
Gnome Do comes with five themes, defaulting to "Classic". You can choose a new one by going to Preferences and selecting the Appearance tab.
The Mini Interface theme.
The Nouveau theme.
The Glass theme.
And let's not forget Docky...
The big new feature in the latest Gnome Do release is Docky, which is Yet Another Apple Dock clone - but just so happens to be one of the best efforts yet, so we don't mind so much!
As Docky is just a theme for Gnome Do, you can click the Summon Gnome Do button to start typing. It matches your letters as you type, as can be seen below - we had just typed "term"
That little + sign in the left corner of Docky adds that program to Docky so you can just click on it in the future.
It gets better with time
The reason Gnome Do is neat is because it remembers which things you use most often, and gives them priority. That means overtime you'll use fewer keystrokes because Gnome Do will automagically select the right option based on your usage history.
The real power of Gnome Do lies in its plugins, so hunt through the list and see which ones work best for you!
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