3. Plugins

Lumina® offers a wide variety of plugins which allow the user to customize their desktop experience. Plugins are divided between context menu, desktop, and floating panel plugins.

3.1. Context Menu Plugins

Menu plugins are the options which appear when the user right-clicks on the desktop screen in Lumina®, as seen in Figure 3.1.1. Customize these options by clicking the Start Menu, then Preferences Configure Desktop Interface Configuration Context Menu and Plugins.

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Fig. 3.1.1 : Lumina® Menu Plugins

Add or remove plugins by clicking the green plus or red minus buttons in the bottom left corner of the window. The arrow buttons in the bottom right allow the user to move plugins up or down in the Quick-Access Menu field, which will alter their display order when the desktop is right-clicked. Click Save to immediately implement any changes to the menu.

Two elements the right-click menu will always display are the name of the current virtual desktop at the top of the menu and the shutdown options on the bottom, as pictured in Figure 3.1.2.

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Fig. 3.1.2 : Menu Plugin Default Menu

The user can completely customize what appears between these two elements of the menu.

3.1.1. Applications

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Fig. 3.1.3 : Applications

This plugin, shown in Figure 3.1.3 adds an application menu which can be navigated to open any installed application. The Control Panel and Application Management options will always be shown at the top, while the categories of applications are shown underneath.

3.1.2. Custom App

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Fig. 3.1.4 : Custom Application

The Custom App option, seen in Figure 3.1.4, adds a specific quickstart icon for a single application to the right-click menu. Pictured is the icon for the “About” application, which is displaying current TrueOS® system information.

3.1.3. File Manager

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Fig. 3.1.5 : File Manager

Opens the user’s home directory within the default file manager, seen in Figure 3.1.5.

3.1.4. JSON Menu

The JSON Menu plugin gives a more advanced user the flexibility to create their own entries into the right-click menu. Selecting the JSON Menu plugin immediately brings up the menu configuration window, seen in Figure 3.1.6.

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Fig. 3.1.6 : JSON Menu Configuration Window

This window has three fields: Visible Name, Executable, and Icon. Visible Name defines the name of the right-click menu entry. Executable is the path to the custom script to be run for the entry. Icon is optional, but is used to assign a specific icon to the custom script.

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Fig. 3.1.7 : JSON Menu Example

For the example in Figure 3.1.7, after completing the configuration window, the resultant display shows the custom script in action. Visible Name appears under Workspace 2, while the executable script has generated the menu of files and folders.

3.1.5. Separator

A Separator, seen in Figure 3.1.2, is simply a horizontal line which can be used to divide entries in the right-click menu. When added to the menu, use the up and down arrows in the plugin selection menu to place the Separator.

3.1.6. Preferences

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Fig. 3.1.8 : Preferences Shortcut

This plugin, seen in Figure 3.1.8, adds a shortcut to the right-click menu. This shortcut opens a new menu of configuration quicklinks.

3.1.7. Terminal

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Fig. 3.1.9 : Terminal Shortcut

A shortcut to the default system terminal, seen in Figure 3.1.9.

3.1.8. Window List

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Fig. 3.1.10 : Window List

This plugin, seen in Figure 3.1.10, adds an entry to the right-click menu which, when hovered over with the mouse, lists all open application windows. This plugin is comparable to a task manager plugin for panels.

3.2. Desktop Plugins

Desktop plugins adds icons or widgets for display on the main screen of the Lumina® Desktop Environment. Click on the default start menu in the lower left of the main desktop screen, then click Preferences Configure Desktop Interface Configuration Desktop Icons and Plugins.

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Fig. 3.2.1 : Desktop Plugin Menu

This is the primary menu for configuring desktop plugins, seen in Figure 3.2.1. Click the green plus to open a Select Plugin window. The user can choose between the available plugins by opening the drop-down menu and clicking the desired plugin. Once a plugin has been selected, it will appear in the Embedded Utilities window.

The Display Desktop Folder Contents option is used to display each item stored in ~/Desktop as an icon on the desktop. By default, this option is selected as its box is black. De-select this option and click Save Changes to remove the icons for the contents of ~/Desktop from the desktop. To define a smaller area on the desktop for displaying icons, use the Desktop Icons View plugin.

Once all the desired plugins have been added, click Save in the upper right section. The menu will automatically save and implement any changes to the desktop plugins.

There are numerous plugins in the desktop category, listed in alphabetical order.

3.2.1. Application Launcher

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Fig. 3.2.2 : Application Launcher

Choosing the Application Launcher plugin opens the window seen in Figure 3.2.2. This drop down menu allows the user to choose a specific application to add to the desktop.

3.2.2. Audio Player

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Fig. 3.2.3 : Audio Player

The Audio Player plugin, seen in Figure 3.2.3, plays user added lists of audio files. Pressing the wrench in the upper left corner opens an options menu to clear or shuffle the playlist.

The green plus gives the user options to add files, a directory, or URL to the playlist. Toggle play in the lower left corner of the plugin in order to start/stop an audio file. In the upper right corner, forward and back allow the user to skip to the next song or return to the previous one. Click the currently playing file to open a drop down menu of all added audio files.

3.2.3. Calendar

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Fig. 3.2.4 : Calendar

This calendar plugin, seen in Figure 3.2.4, will display a calendar set to the current month and day. The arrows in the upper left and right of the plugin allow the user to view previous or upcoming months. If available, the user can also use their mouse to hover over the calendar and then scroll up or down through the calendar.

3.2.4. Desktop Icons View

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Fig. 3.2.5 : Desktop Icons

This plugin, seen in Figure 3.2.5, defines an area on the desktop to display icons. If enough icons are added to the plugin, a scroll bar appears for the user to scroll through all available icons.

3.2.5. Note Pad

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Fig. 3.2.6 : Note Pad

Note Pad, seen in Figure 3.2.6, adds a simple text editor widget to the desktop. The user needs to create or open a note before they can type a message. Notes default to the .note text format and are saved in /usr/home/<username>/Notes. Clicking the down arrow in the upper-right corner displays a number of options:

  • Open Text File: Allows the user to browse through their directories to open a .note or other text file.
  • Create a Note: Creates a new note; a unique name is required.
  • Rename Note: Renames the currently open note.
  • Delete Note: Immediately deletes the displayed note.

3.2.6. RSS Reader

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Fig. 3.2.7 : RSS Reader

RSS Reader, seen in Figure 3.2.7, displays connected RSS feeds. The user can add their own custom RSS feeds to the plugin, but the default feed displayed is the Lumina® Desktop Environment blog. Click the dropdown menu to choose which RSS feed to display. The down arrow in the upper right corner opens a list of options:

  • Add RSS Feed: An option to allow the user to type in their own RSS URL or load a preset RSS Feed.
  • View Feed Details: Displays current feed data, including URL, feed description and website address, and the previous build date and synchronization settings. Also included is an option to remove the feed.
  • Settings: Options for syncing the feed. Manual synchronization is available, or the user can instead define the sync interval. Remember to save any changes in feed settings.
  • Update Feeds Now: Click to immediately update all feeds.

Note

An active Internet connection is required for the RSS Reader plugin to function properly.

Click the blue globe to open the default web browser at the feed’s associated website.

3.2.7. System Monitor

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Fig. 3.2.8 : System Monitor Display

The Summary tab of the System Monitor plugin, seen in Figure 3.2.8. CPU Temperature (in Celsius), CPU Usage, and Memory Usage are displayed. Currently, there are no other options to display in the system monitor aside from these statistics and the read/write speed monitor, shown next.

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Fig. 3.2.9 : System Monitor I/O

The Disk I/O tab of the System Monitor plugin. Displayed are the current read and write speeds of the connected hardware, which in Figure 3.2.9 is a hard drive and cd player.

3.3. Floating Panel Plugins

Panels are a completely customizable option for Lumina® users. By default, Lumina® users have one panel stretched across the bottom of the primary screen and one smaller pop-up panel in the top middle of the primary screen. To adjust the default panels and add plugins, click the start menu and navigate Preferences Configure Desktop Interface Configuration Floating Panels and Plugins. For demonstration purposes, a simple panel centered at the top of a secondary screen was utilized to show the various plugins listed below. The settings for this panel are pictured in Figure 3.3.1.

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Fig. 3.3.1 : Panel Settings

Panel 1 is configured to the top center of Monitor 1 (plugged into DVI-I-0). To add or adjust plugins for this panel, click the green puzzle piece to open the menu seen in Figure 3.3.2.

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Fig. 3.3.2 : Panel Plugins Menu

The large field shows currently active plugins. Click the red minus or green plus buttons to add or remove plugins to the panel. Use the arrow keys to alter the display order of attached plugins. By default, plugins will populate horizontal panels from left to right, and vertical panels from top to bottom. All the plugins available for panel plugins are listed below.

3.3.1. Panel Application Launcher

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Fig. 3.3.3 : Panel Application Launcher

When you select this plugin, seen in Figure 3.3.3, it will prompt to select the application to launch. This will add a shortcut for launching the selected application to the panel.

3.3.2. Application Menu

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Fig. 3.3.4 : Application Menu

Adds an application menu, seen in Figure 3.3.4. This is a shortcut to the user’s home directory, a shortcut to the operating system’s graphical software management utility (if one exists), a shortcut to the operating system’s Control Panel (if available), and a list of installed software sorted by categories. This plugin is a primary menu like the start button, and opens when the Windows key is pressed.

3.3.3. Audio Player (Panel)

The panel audio player is identical to the desktop Audio Player, except the player is on the chosen panel.

3.3.4. Battery Monitor

Hover over this icon (not pictured) to view the current charge status of the battery. When the charge reaches 15% or below, the low battery icon flashes intermittently. At 5% charge remaining, a low battery icon displays and a warning noise plays.

3.3.5. Desktop Bar

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Fig. 3.3.5 : Desktop Bar - Favorite Applications (Star icon) is pressed.

This plugin adds shortcuts to the panel for applications or files contained within the ~/Desktop folder or favorited by the user, seen in Figure 3.3.5. The Star button displays applications, the folder button displays folders, and the file button shows favorite files.

3.3.6. JSON Menu (Panel)

The panel JSON Menu is functionally identical to the context menu JSON Menu, only with the menu script generator pinned to a panel.

3.3.7. Line

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Fig. 3.3.6 : Line - The line is highlighted in red.

Adds a separator line to the panel to provide visual separation between plugins, highlighted in Figure 3.3.6. When adding a line plugin in the Panel Plugins Menu, be sure to use the arrow buttons in the bottom-right corner of the window to place the line entry between the plugins to be separated.

3.3.8. Show Desktop

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Fig. 3.3.7 : Show Desktop Button

This button, seen in Figure 3.3.7, immediately hides all open windows on all active monitors so only the desktop is visible. This is useful for touch screens or small devices.

3.3.9. Spacer

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Fig. 3.3.8 : Spacer Plugin

Adds a blank area to the panel, Figure 3.3.8. Similar to Line, Spacers need to be positioned between plugins in the Panel Plugins Menu in order to achieve the desired separation.

3.3.10. Start Menu

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Fig. 3.3.9 : Start Menu

Adds a classic start menu as seen on other operating systems. Seen in Figure 3.3.9, this is added by default to the primary desktop panel in the lower left corner.

3.3.11. System Dashboard

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Fig. 3.3.10 : System Dashboard with the button pressed.

The System Dashboard plugin, seen in Figure 3.3.10, is a convenient shortcut to view or modify a number of basic settings. The system volume and screen brightness can be manually adjusted higher or lower, and it is possible to toggle between virtual workspaces with the left and right arrows. A Log Out button has also been added for additional convenience. If the system has a battery, its current charge will also be displayed.

Note

Adjusting the screen brightness on a multi-monitor system alters both monitors.

3.3.12. System Tray

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Fig. 3.3.11 : System Tray with several docked applications

Provides an area on the panel for dockable applications, seen in Figure 3.3.11. Applications can be sent to this area on a per-application basis, but only one system tray plugin can be active at a time. By default, the active system tray will be the one on the lowest number monitor and panel. For example, when adding the system tray plugin to monitor zero, panel one and again to monitor one, panel one, only the system tray on monitor zero will be active. Disabling the system tray on monitor zero activates the tray on monitor one, automatically migrating any docked applications to the other panel.

3.3.13. Task Manager Plugin (No Groups)

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Fig. 3.3.12 : Task Manager (No Groups)

Ensures that every window gets its own button on the panel. This plugin, seen in Figure 3.3.12, uses a large amount of space on the panel, as every window displays part of its title. This plugin is added to the default panel for Lumina®.

3.3.14. Task Manager Plugin

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Fig. 3.3.13 : Task Manager

Figure 3.3.13 shows three open terminal windows grouped into one minimal panel entry with (3) displayed next to the terminal icon.

The grouping task manager displays windows in the panel as well. Its primary function is to group windows by application, saving more space on the panel. This manager also does not typically display window titles on the panel, saving additional space.

3.3.15. Time/Date

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Fig. 3.3.14 : Time/Date with the clock selected, opening additional settings.

Displays the current time and date. A basic clock is added to the panel; clicking it opens the calendar, seen in Figure 3.3.14, which highlights the current date. Click the arrows in the top corners to look back or ahead in the calendar. Click Time Zone to adjust the displayed time.

3.3.16. User Menu

The User Menu is a more complicated plugin that provides an array of shortcuts to files and applications on the system, essentially as an alternative to the Start Menu.

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Fig. 3.3.15 : User Favorites

Figure 3.3.15 shows the default view after clicking the user button. On the sidebar, the Favorites folder is highlighted, with the top tab showing Applications. Favorite folders and files can be viewed by clicking the Places and Files tabs, respectively.

Clicking the gear icon in the left sidebar opens the Applications section of the menu, seen in Figure 3.3.16.

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Fig. 3.3.16 : User Applications

This section displays all applications by default, with the drop down menu at the top displaying applications by category. The AppCafe® button in the top right will open the SysAdm AppCafe®, providing a means to quickly search and download more applications.

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Fig. 3.3.17 : Home Directory

In Figure 3.3.17, the folder icon on the left sidebar opens the Home directory, providing the option to quickly browse through system directories. Clicking the file/folder button in the upper right launches the Insight File Manager, pointed to the home directory. Clicking the binoculars and gear icon launches the search utility.

Selecting the screwdriver and wrench icon on the sidebar opens Desktop Preferences, seen in Figure 3.3.18.

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Fig. 3.3.18 : Desktop Preferences

This panel displays shortcuts to all the settings and configuration utilities, as well as the system information window.

3.3.17. Workspace Switcher

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Fig. 3.3.19 : Workspace Switcher

The Workspace Switcher, seen in Figure 3.3.19, is used to switch between virtual desktops. Click the monitor icon to show a drop down menu of all workspaces. The active workspace will have asterisks (*) before and after its name.