Upgrading project hamster to 2.25.3 from source

This post is an update to a previous post regarding project hamster.

Since installing the missing project hamster to my gnome 2.24 upgrade I have used it daily at work to track the time spent on each of the many projects I will participate in on any given day and it has been absolutely marvelous at helping me fill out my timesheets accurately.


In addition to the amount of time I spend on a project and the name of the project, both of which are tracked superbly in 2.23,  I also have to enter a description of what I was doing for each period of time logged. It is at this point that I found project hamster lacking. Until now!

I’m not sure if it was in version 2.24 or 2.25 of hamster that the description field was added but it’s a very welcome addition.

Hamster 2.25 update activity dialog

Hamster 2.25 update activity dialog

When you update an activity in 2.25 you now have a description text area to store exactly that, a description! The even better way of inputting a description is with the single activity text box by splitting the activity and the description with a comma. i.e. “activity_name, here is what I did during this activity”

Additionally the single activity box can also be used to set the category of the activity by adding an @ symbol. i.e. “activity_name@Work, here is what I did during this activity” nifty eh?

So now that I’ve teased you with what the new version does here is a description of how to upgrade from source, it’s fairly straightforward especially if you’re familiar with building applications from source already.

1. In a terminal enter the following command which will install all the necessary dependencies for building hamster (the line below will cover wrap onto 3 lines though it should be entered in the terminal as a single line)

sudo apt-get install gnome-common python-pysqlite2 python-gtk2 python-gtk2-dev
python-gobject python-gobject-dev libgconf2-dev python-gnome2-dev
x11proto-scrnsaver-dev libxss-dev

2. Grab yourself a copy of the source from http://ftp.gnome.org/pub/GNOME/sources/hamster-applet/2.25/hamster-applet-2.25.3.tar.gz

3. Extract the source file to a folder, assuming you downloaded the source to your home directory you could extract it with the following commands

cd ~
tar -zxvf hamster-applet-2.25.3.tar.gz

4. Now the commands to actually build the plugin, again assuming you extracted the source in the line above to a folder named hamster-applet-2.25.3 in your home folder

cd ~/hamster-applet-2.25.3
sudo make install

5. And that’s it, should be rather painless, unless something goes horribly wrong (in which case leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do to help) All that’s left is to remove hamster from your panel and then add it again from the Add to panel dialog. Check that you’re running version 2.25.3 by right-clicking on the hamster applet and selecting About.

As always I hope that helps someone, comments are always appreciated.

Ubuntu 8.10 upgrade experience

This is just a quick post concerning my upgrade to Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex, there will be more to come later.

One of the new features I was most anticipating in this upgrade was the time tracking applet included with the upgrade to Gnome 2.24. I have to fill in daily time sheets at work and trying to keep track of what I work on in any one day has become a real hassle, I was hoping this applet would make completing these time sheets a lot easier so imagine my dismay when after performing the upgrade to 8.10 and opening the add to panel dialog I found no such applet!

Long story short and without explaination because I don’t know why it wasn’t there but I was able to add the time tracking applet by running the following in a terminal

sudo apt-get install hamster-applet

after installing hamster the time tracking applet was in my add to panel dialog and I am indeed looking forward to using it (apparently it took me 8 minutes to write this post!)