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Get a working Slack client for Ubuntu, complete with notifications and an independent icon. ScudCloud is the unofficial Slack client Ubuntu users have been looking for.

I’m not going to feign objectivity here: I think Slack is wonderful. It not only makes group communication easier Slack Makes Group Communication Faster and Easier Slack Makes Group Communication Faster and Easier Group emails can really kill productivity. It's time to put mail clients to rest and use collaboration services like newly launched Slack. Read More : it’s a productivity godsend. It’s everything Google Wave was supposed to be 4 Ways Google Failed to Change the World [Opinion] 4 Ways Google Failed to Change the World [Opinion] “We celebrate our failures,” Google’s Eric Schmidt once said. Google’s had some amazing successes that have changed the world, but some of their attempts to do so have failed. With their famous “don’t be evil”... Read More , except it actually works. MakeUseOf’s staff is scattered across the globe; Slack acts as our newsroom, where we plan the stories you end up reading here.

But there’s one problem: unless you’re using a Mac, there’s no desktop client, meaning you’re stuck using Slack in your browser. Linux and Windows users are told to create an application icon using Chrome:

slack-desktop-chrome-instructions

It seems like a Windows client is on the way, with nothing in the pipeline for Linux users. Meanwhile, the Mac Slack client integrates well with the system, offering native notifications and more. ScudCloud is an unofficial app that offers the same thing to Ubuntu users – here’s how it looks.

A Slack Client For Ubuntu

Fire up ScudCloud and you’ll see… Slack.

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slack-ubuntu-client

(Note: some of our channels are less productive than others).

Yes, this is basically just the web client in a window, but that’s exactly what the Mac version offers as well. What makes this different is the system integration, starting with a notification count on the app’s icon.

slack-ubuntu-dock-icon

The app also offers Ubuntu users native notifications, meaning you won’t miss the messages you’ve set up alerts for.

slack-ubuntu-notification

Be sure to fine-tune Slack’s settings, so you only see the notifications you care about, or this could get overwhelming.

One of Ubuntu’s overlooked features is dock menus, which you can see by right-clicking any icon in the dock. From here Scudcloud offers a quick way to directly open any channel you’re subscribed to:

slack-ubuntu-menubar

That’s more or less the basic tour. It’s simple, sure, but if you’re a Slack team member who uses Ubuntu it offers the integration you’ve been looking for.

Install ScudCloud

Ready to install? ScudCloud is offered as part of a PPA, meaning you can install it with the following three commands:

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:rael-gc/scudcloud
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install scudcloud

Here’s what those commands do, in order:

  1. Adds the ScudCloud PPA to your system (what is an Ubuntu PPA? What Is An Ubuntu PPA & Why Would I Want To Use One? [Technology Explained] What Is An Ubuntu PPA & Why Would I Want To Use One? [Technology Explained] Read More ).
  2. Updates your package list.
  3. Installs ScudCloud.

Note that this is an Ubuntu-specific app, and the PPA will only work on Ubuntu-derived systems such as Linux Mint.

Replace Any Icon In Ubuntu – Including ScudCloud

I’ve only got one real complaint about ScudCloud: the icon. While it does fit in among Ubuntu’s default iconset, nothing about it says “Slack” to me. For this reason, I looked into how to change the icon for any Ubuntu app – here’s what I found out.

slack-ubuntu-replace-icon

First, open the Terminal. Then, type this command to open your applications folder, in your file browser, as a super user:

sudo nautilus /usr/share/applications/

In the window that opens, find Scudcloud. Right-click it, then click “Properties”. You’ll see a window outlining the app.

ubuntu-replace-icon

Click the icon button at top-left, then browse your system to find a replacement icon. I used this unofficial Slack icon by designer Diesel Laws.

ubuntu-slack-much-better

That’s it! Your icon should be replaced – you may need to restart ScudCloud to notice the difference. These same steps will work for any application, of course.

How Do You IM On Ubuntu?

Slack is far from the only IM option on Ubuntu. Empathy can send messages to basically any network Empathy: Use One Application To IM Chat On All Networks [Linux] Empathy: Use One Application To IM Chat On All Networks [Linux] There are still plenty of people who use instant messaging networks to talk with each other, as it's very quick to exchange messages or ask a simple question. In fact, there are plenty of corporations... Read More , and Pidgin is another solid multi-platform IM app Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux] Combine All Your IM Accounts In One Application With Pidgin [Windows & Linux] Pidgin is a free instant-messaging client that combines all your IM accounts in one simple application. Instead of running several different IM clients that display ads and eat up memory, just use Pidgin. All your... Read More . You could in theory use either as a Slack client in Ubuntu, thanks to IRC and XMPP integration. For most people, though, ScudCloud offers a way better Slack experience than these options – everything will work the way it does on other platforms.

I think Slack should point their Ubuntu users toward this unofficial app. It works.

Having said that, I’d love to hear more about how you use Ubuntu apps to keep in touch – with co-workers, or anyone else. What tools do you love for the job? Have you tried Slack? Let us know in the comments below – I’ll be around to chat with you.

Oh, and Windows users: I know you’re about to ask for a client. Look into SlackUI, which is similar to ScudCloud but for Windows. Enjoy!

  1. Pranav Kulkarni
    June 27, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Slack team released their own desktop client for slack in beta for Linux (Ubuntu and Fedora) users: https://slack.com/downloads

  2. Paulo Coghi
    April 17, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Some Ubuntu 12.04 users might forget to see ScudCloud's Github page to add the necessary PPA's: http://askubuntu.com/questions/610466/ubuntu-12-04-install-newer-libqtwebkit4-instead-2-2-1-for-scudcloud

  3. Christophe Eblé
    April 16, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    ScudCloud has some memory issues, unfortunately :(

  4. Dmitry
    April 6, 2015 at 5:43 pm

    OMG!

    Thank you so much!
    Notifications was the main problem in chrome-app.

    Now it works great :)

    • Justin Pot
      April 6, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      I'm glad it's useful for you!

  5. Justin Pot
    March 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    You'll have to ask Rael! Respond to his comment above I'd say.

    • Rael G.C.
      March 5, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Richard, usually I take a screenshot and copy it to the clipboard. Then if you paste it in the input field, the Upload File will be displayed.

    • Richard Lainchbury
      March 5, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      Hi Rael,

      It seems to work now, I had clipit installed (which I was unsuccessfully trying out) which seems to be the cause.

  6. Richard Lainchbury
    March 4, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Hi, thanks for this.

    Any chance this could have an option to run at startup and close to the system tray?

    • Rael G.C.
      March 5, 2015 at 11:41 am

      Close to Tray just added. Please, update :)

    • Richard Lainchbury
      March 5, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      Thanks, that was fast work!

      Bug time:

      When I take a screenshot and paste it into the chat, "Create Snippet" pops up.

  7. Rael G.C.
    March 3, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    One last tip: you can add spell checker to ScudCloud. Just add your language hunspell dictionary.

    Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run, for english:
    sudo apt-get install hunspell-en-us

    • Justin Pot
      March 3, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by our little site, Rael, and thanks for putting together a great program!

  8. Rael G.C.
    March 3, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Command 1 and 2 must be, each, 1 line long (as I can see the command 1 was wrapped).

  9. Rael G.C.
    March 3, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    Justin, ScudCloud author speaking here.

    I've asked Slack team if I could use their icon or name, even making clear it's a unnoficial client. The answer was "No".

    About your tip to replace the icon: the problem with that is the .desktop file or the .png will be replace at every new update.

    Solution: you can use dpkg-divert command: it'll tell to apt that you moved a file from a package to other place. So, when this file get updated, dpkg will update your moved file and keep the new one.

    Something like this:

    1. Create the dpkg-divert entry. Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and run:
    dpkg-divert --add --rename --divert /opt/scudcloud/resources/scudcloud.png.real /opt/scudcloud/resources/scudcloud.png

    2. Move your Slack image now to replace scudcloud.png:
    sudo mv ~/slack.png /opt/scudcloud/resources/scudcloud.png

    • Justin Pot
      March 3, 2015 at 10:47 pm

      That kind of sucks that they wouldn't let you use the icon, but I also kind of get it. Thanks for the tip for the icon replacement, I'm sure that'll be helpful to someone!

  10. dragonmouth
    March 2, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    And here I thought you were going to write about Slackware.

    • Justin Pot
      March 2, 2015 at 11:31 pm

      I've got a review of the Slackware-based ZenWalk coming up soon, if that makes you feel better.

    • dragonmouth
      March 3, 2015 at 12:45 am

      Anything you write about makes feel better.

    • Justin Pot
      March 3, 2015 at 12:47 am

      Ha, glad I can put something together that you like!

  11. thedress
    March 2, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Didnt a beta for Windows come out a few weeks ago?

    • Justin Pot
      March 2, 2015 at 11:31 pm

      If that happened I missed it! I'm a Mac/Linux user primarily, but still: my bad!

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