Every now and then I blog about a program that is a must-have. You might remember my previous posts about Tomboy (reminder plugin) or (tomboy 5.0 release) that I still use daily. When you find a program that makes your life easier you’ve just got to share it! Isn’t that what all of this is about?!
Today I wanted to write about Beagle and the deskbar-applet. For those of you not already using or familiar with Beagle it is the best way to search for files on your system. It works in the same way that OSX or XP do in that it creates an index of all the files on your system to make them more accessible during a search. (Prior to beagle searching was limited to find which is not nearly as efficient.)
To get started with todays tutorial we’ll need to install two packages.
sudo aptitude install beagle deskbar-applet
Once you have Beagle installed you’ll need to begin the indexing process. Note: this could take a little time. If you’re on a laptop you might want to plug the thing in. The intense I/O that the hard drive indexing will do can drain your battery pretty well.
Begin the indexing by running the following command (on the command line or via ALT-F2):
Now that Beagle is chugging along to index all of your files you can safely move to the next step.
You’ll want to add the interface to Beagle to your GNOME panel by adding the deskbar-applet that we just installed. Doing this is as simple as adding another applet to your panel.
right-click on your launcher panel
select "Add to Panel"
Once this is added to your panel you can try to search for a few things or right-click on the applet and change some of the preferences.
While beagled is still indexing away here is a quick rundown of some of the options within the deskbar-applet.
del.icio.us Bookmarks (search your del.icio.us bookmarks by tag name)
History (previous Beagle searches)
Dictionary (look up definitions in the dictionary)
Programs (launch a program by its name or description)
Mail (send mail to your contacts by entering their name or email address)
Web (open web pages and send emails by typing the complete address)
Files, Folders and Places (view your files, folders, bookmarks, drives and network places)
Web Bookmarks (open your web bookmarks by name)
Web History (open your web history by name)
Web Searches (search the web via your browsers search settings)
Beagle (search all of your documents)
Computer Actions (logoff, shutdown, restart, suspend and related actions)
Developer Documentation (search Devhelp for a function name)
Files and Folders Search (find files and folders by searching for a name pattern)
Window Switcher (switch to an existing window by name)
Yahoo! Search (search Yahoo! as you type)
Any and all of these can be toggled to an active/in-active status. Only use the ones you want. The deskbar-applet really makes accessing your data, commands, windows and programs as easy as you want it to be.
Well it looks like beagled indexing has finished (with the initial indexing anyway). You will want beagled to run regularly to keep up to date with your changes. Set beagled to start automagically with the following:
System > Preferences > Sessions : Startup Programs : Add : beagled
Update: per Brandon’s comment below beagled does not need to be added to the startup programs. A file should have been created (on Edgy machines) at $HOME/.config/autostart/beagled.desktop that automagically launches the beagled indexer at login. Thanks for the update Brandon!
Update: I’ve added a later post including two steps to integrate Google search to your Deskbar Applet.
You’re all ready to go at this point. Select a few of the options from the list above and start searching. You’ll be quickly surprised at how quickly and efficiently it is able to find just what you’re looking for.
Enjoy! One more must-have program brought to you by Ubuntu Tutorials 😉