Preview GNOME Activity Journal (Zeitgeist) on Ubuntu 9.10

By | 2010/01/19

I’ve been meaning to type this up for some time now. Ever since I wrote the article on Installing GNOME Shell on Ubuntu 9.10, I’ve wanted to write about some of the other features of GNOME 3.x. Finally I am able to bring to you the preview of GNOME Activity Journal (also known as Zeitgeist). In this article I will outline how to install, use, and update the GNOME Activity Journal.


GNOME Activity Journal previews can be downloaded from Launchpad by way of bzr. You can easily checkout the latest development versions and run them, no compilation required! You will need to have the bzr utility installed, which can be done using the following command: (or click the linked package name)

sudo aptitude install bzr

Once you have bzr installed you’re ready to go! Next I will cover how to download the development previews and get started running and testing GNOME Activity Journal.

Download GNOME Activity Journal

There are two requirements for running GNOME Activity Journal. The Journal utility itself, and the Zeitgeist daemon. In the following steps we’ll checkout the latest revisions of each.

First, we’ll create a directory structure for our applications to run in.

mkdir ~/zeitgeist

cd ~/zeitgeist


Download Zeitgeist using the command:

bzr branch lp:zeitgeist

GNOME Activity Journal

Download the GNOME Activity Journal utility using the command:

bzr branch lp:gnome-activity-journal

Launching GNOME Activity Journal

Once these two utilities have downloaded we’re ready to launch them and start previewing the GNOME Activity Journal. This is done using the commands:

~/zeitgeist/zeitgeist/ &
~/zeitgeist/gnome-activity-journal/gnome-activity-journal &

Keeping Updated

If you want to keep these two utilities updated, you can simply continue to track the bzr repositories and update your branches with the latest revisions. Anytime you want to check for new features or changes in either Zeitgeist or GNOME Activity Journal, simply run the following two commands:

cd ~/zeitgeist/zeitgeist && bzr pull
cd ~/zeitgeist/gnome-activity-journal && bzr pull

These two commands will move you to the directories where you have each utility checked out and pull for any new revisions in the upstream Launchpad repository. If there are no changes, you should receive the message “No revisions to pull”. Otherwise it’ll download the latest changes and you can simply re-launch as outlined above.


Check out this YouTube video of a recent build:


The new utilities and features in GNOME 3.x are shaping up very nicely. Between the GNOME Shell and GNOME Activity Journal we’ve got some fun and exciting new utilities to tinker with. I’d love to hear your thoughts on both of these, and what you think about the upcoming GNOME 3.x release.

4 thoughts on “Preview GNOME Activity Journal (Zeitgeist) on Ubuntu 9.10

  1. Seif Lotfy

    GNOME Activity Journal and Zeitgeist are not the same
    GNOME Activity Journal is UI
    Zeitgeist is a Framework
    Both by the same team but different projects. GAJ depends on Zeitgeist

  2. Liquid Paper

    After installation make sure zeitgeist is running. ps aux|grep zeit

    Reboot will always work!

  3. bandsxbands

    My friend and I were recently discussing about how involved with technology our daily lives have become. Reading this post makes me think back to that discussion we had, and just how inseparable from electronics we have all become.I don’t mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside… I just hope that as technology further develops, the possibility of uploading our brains onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It’s a fantasy that I daydream about every once in a while.(Posted by FFV2 for R4i Nintendo DS.)

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