Google Desktop Search vs Tracker

29 06 2007

After reading Mohammad’s blog post about Google Desktop, I thought I’d take it for a spin since I’m a GDS fan when I’m on XP. Though I’ve only been using it for two days, I soon realized that I am going back to Tracker. Here’s why:

1. Memory Footprint

GDS is costing me 50MB+ for the search utility, the indexing process, and the tray icon. Tracker peaks at about 4MB for me – and that includes the indexing process.

2. No Deskbar Integration

With tracker I can integrate it into my deskbar. I can launch apps, search the web/desktop, and run system level commands from one place. GDS is limited to only searching the web/desktop, so as a power user I’m still stuck using 2 applications, when I can be using one integrated solution. I hope in the future we will be able to integrate GDS into the Deskbar, but it seems unlikely since GDS is a closed-source binary.

3. Firefox Results

GDS displays search results in Firefox. Though this is nice, we all know that FF isn’t the fastest loading application in our toolbox. Tracker has its own native GTK+ search window which loads up a lot quicker.

3. Privacy

If enabled, Google can monitor your usage, which they claim is non-personal information. I’m still a bit weary about anyone collecting my data for that matter, even if its Google who sees, hears, and speaks no evil. Tracker just does its job, it searches. No fuss or hassle.

One thing I will note however – GDS is blazing fast. It picks up search results as I type, faster than Tracker. The speed difference isn’t enough to outweigh its large memory footprint though. I am indexing my root folder which is the culprit for GDS eating up my memory, but if Tracker can do it efficiently, I expect the boys at Google to do so as well =).

Dia – The Microsoft Visio Alternative

22 06 2007

This post is now available on my new blog The IT Report:—the-microsoft-viso-alternative

Search GMail From The Deskbar

18 06 2007

I swear by the Deskbar applet. I swear by GMail. So lets put two and two together. Deskbar allows you to add “handlers” which are 3rd party extensions to this wonderful search utility. Here is a handler to allow Deskbar to search your GMail from within Ubuntu. Just save this script in your /home/.gnome2/deskbar-applet/handlers/ directory and it will automatically appear in your Deskbar Preferences. The script requires a little tweaking – you will need to hardcode your GMail username and password in order for it to work. At the top of the script there is a section:


Which will require your attention. For a list of additional handlers click here. Another favorite Deskbar trick of mine is to integrate it with live Tracker search results. Deskbar is one of those utilities that make my daily computing, a little bit easier.

Listen – The GNOME Amarok

11 06 2007

I recently discovered Listen, a GNOME music manager that outclasses Rhythmbox which comes standard in Ubuntu. I like Listen because it is very similar to Amarok but without the KDE. I can browse lyrics, get album art, and even get suggestions from Audioscrobbler. Oh yeah, it organizes my music too =).


Listen is available in the universe. Load up your terminal and enter:

“sudo apt-get install listen”

Enable Tracker Live Search in Ubuntu

30 05 2007

With the advent of Feisty Fawn, we now have Tracker which does a much better job of finding files than the standard GNOME search utility. One thing that bothered me about Tracker was that I was never able to get it to integrate with my trusty Deskbar applet – until now:

“sudo apt-get install libdeskbar-tracker”

Not only does it enable the Deskbar to search using Tracker, but it does a live update of the search results a-la Google Desktop Search.

What To Do When You Can No Longer Start Ubuntu

24 05 2007

Lets face it, if you like to edit system configuration files keeping your sudo finger happy – you just might screw up your operating system. Before you go reformatting your drive just remember not all hope is lost. In fact its really easy to get your system back in action with Linux.

Option 1 – Reinstall the Ubuntu Desktop

The ubuntu-desktop is a metapackage that links together a lot of core applications in Ubuntu. If you reinstall it, the system will add all of the original software and packages that were bundled when you first installed it.

“sudo apt-get –reinstall ubuntu-desktop”

Once this is complete, your system should be good to go! In most cases, this will do the trick. If this does not fix the problem, you could have an issue with your desktop manager….

Option 2 – Purge GNOME (or KDE, XFCE, etc.)

One time I could no longer boot into my window manager. All I had was my trusty shell and an internet connection – and thats all I needed. If you have somehow messed up your desktop manager such as GNOME, re-installing it might not work because a lot of settings are still present. Even if you did a remove and then a clean install of the package you may have some lingering config files around.

“sudo apt-get –purge gnome”

“sudo apt-get install gnome”

If you perform a purge all settings WILL be removed cleanly. After that, do an install and you should be set! Try this in conjunction with an ubuntu-desktop reinstall if the problem isn’t solely GNOME.

These two options have saved me a lot of headache. Fortunately I haven’t witnessed any problems more serious than these cases. If I ever have a more severe problem and manage to fix it, I’ll be sure to update this post!