Tag/tag.png

Unsupported Version
This article applies to an unsupported version of Ubuntu. More info...

MetaTracker is a powerful desktop-neutral first class object database, tag/metadata database, search tool and indexer. Tracker is also extremely fast and super efficient with your system's memory compared to other competing frameworks. It consists of a common object database that allows entities to have an almost infinite number of properties, metadata, a comprehensive database of keywords/tags and links to other entities. It has the ability to index, store, and harvest metadata, as well as retrieve and search for files and other first class objects.

In layman's terms, MetaTracker (commonly referred to as Tracker) is a desktop search application which allows you to quickly search your documents, photos, music, and other files. The advantage of Tracker over the default search feature in Ubuntu (Nautilus -> Search for files...) is that results are returned much more quickly and all of the metadata (such as title, artist, track, album, composer, date, etc.) of the file is included in the search. Tracker also very small and efficient, consuming only abou 6 MB of RAM when indexing, and ~3 MB when idle.

See the Tracker project homepage for more information.

Installing MetaTracker

Get MetaTracker

  • Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) Tracker is not included in Ubuntu Dapper, so you must install it manually from a 3rd party deb package.

  • Download the Tracker deb: tracker_0.5.4_i386.deb

  • Open with Gdebi and install the package. After the package is installed close gdebi.
  • Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft: Tracker is not included in Ubuntu Edgy, so you must install it manually from a 3rd party deb package.

  • Download the Tracker deb: http://www.gnome.org/~jamiemcc/tracker/DEB/Edgy/

  • Open with Gdebi and install the package. After the package is installed close gdebi.
  • Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn: Tracker is now included in Ubuntu Feisty. You just have to install the "tracker-search-tool" package.

    You can do it with a GUI, see Installing Software or with a command line:

    sudo apt-get install tracker-search-tool

Configure Metatracker to start indexing automatically (not needed for Feisty)

  1. Click "System" -> "Preferences" -> "Sessions"

  2. Click the startup programs tab
  3. Click the add button and type "trackerd" as the name of the program.

Start Metatracker

Press Alt+F2 and enter "trackerd" in order to start the tracker indexer directly.

Tracker is now installed and indexing your home directory!

You can check on its progress by typing the following at a terminal:

tail -f ~/.Tracker/tracker.log

This will give you a real-time status of what it's doing.

The first time you run trackerd, it will take a little while to index all of your files (the more files you have, the longer you'll have to wait.) To see if it's done, open the "System Monitor" ("System" -> "Administration" -> "System Monitor") and look for the "trackerd" process on the "Processes" tab. When its status is "Sleeping" then all of your files have been indexed.

Using MetaTracker

There are several ways of performing a tracker search.

Tracker own search GUI

simply run the following command to have a nice search interface with advanced file type selection.

tracker-search-tool

Nautilus Integration

To properly use the Tracker search functionality you should install the tracker enabled Nautilus.

  1. Download the Tracker enabled Nautilus deb:
  2. Open with Gdebi and install the package. After the package is installed close gdebi.
  3. Press Alt+F2 and enter "nautilus -q" in order to restart nautilus

Congratulations! The Tracker enabled Nautilus is now installed.

If Tracker has finished indexing your files, open Nautilus and click the "Search for files" button. Type in your search, click, and be surprised at how quick you get the results.

Deskbar Applet Handler

Deskbar is a search box which is always available on one of your desktop panels. Deskbar can perform many different search types, including Tracker searches.

  • Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn

    • The Deskbar Tracker handler is now available in the Feisty Fawn Universe repositories. You need to install the "libdeskbar-tracker" package.

      You can do it via the Synaptic Package Manager

      Or you can install it via the terminal:

      sudo apt-get install libdeskbar-tracker

      Warning There is a bug which prevent the deskbar to launch.

      Congratulations! The Tracker handler is now installed for Deskbar. (You will have to enable it through the Deskbar preferences)

    Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake) and Ubuntu 6.10 Edgy Eft

    1. Open a terminal ("Applications" -> "Accessories" -> "Terminal")

    2. Type this command to install for a single user:

      wget http://www.madman2k.net/files/deskbar-tracker-05.py -O ~/.gnome2/deskbar-applet/handlers/deskbar-tracker-05.py
    3. Alternatively, type in this command to install system-wide:

      sudo wget http://www.madman2k.net/files/deskbar-tracker-05.py -O /usr/lib/deskbar-applet/handlers/deskbar-tracker-05.py
    4. If you had the deskbar applet running before installing the Tracker handler:
      • Either restart Gnome (log-out and log-in again).
      • Or:
        1. Right-click Deskbar and click "Remove From Panel"
        2. Right-click Panel and click "Add To Panel"
        3. Click the Deskbar icon, and the add button, and then close.
    5. If you didn't have the Deskbar applet running:
      1. Right Click on one of the gnome panels and Click add to panel
      2. Click the Deskbar icon, and the add button, and then close.
      Congratulations! The Tracker handler is now installed for Deskbar. (You will have to enable it through the Deskbar preferences)

Command-line tools

Tracker can also be used from the command line. Click Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal to open a terminal. Type 'tracker' and then press the Tab key on the keyboard twice in rapid succession. This will display a list of Tracker command-line tools which you can use. For example, you can type tracker-search <search terms> (replace <search terms> with your own search terms) to perform searches from the command-line.

Configuring Tracker

You can change various settings for Tracker by editing the "~/.Tracker/tracker.cfg" file.

Advanced MetaTracker

Advanced features are available, for which the latest SVN version of Tracker is recommended (if not required):

  • the tagging of files with user-chosen tags, eventually integrated in nautilus using a plugin

  • the creation and reuse of complex queries (RDFQ) combining multiple facets (eg: file type, size, location, date, keyword ...)

  • the use of the complex queries above as virtual directory in your filesystem, using trackerfs

  • the support for thumbnails of your documents
  • a specific GUI (under design)

Debugging Tracker

If you want to debug tracker, you can set the Verbosity option to 2 or even 3, in the General section of the tracker configuration file ("~/.config/tracker/tracker.cfg" or "~/.Tracker/tracker.cfg", depending on your version of Ubuntu). After changing the configuration, you have to re-start tracker (log out and back in), or kill the trackerd and run it on the shell. The log files should be located in "~/.local/share/tracker".

Alternatives to Tracker

Tracker is just one of many desktop search applications compatible with Ubuntu. Below is a short list of other search applications you may like to try:

Getting some help

Help related to using or enhancing Tracker can be found in the Tracker mailing-list archive, by subscribing to the Tracker mailing list, or on the irc.gimp.net #tracker channel.

MetaTracker (last edited 2010-06-01 06:33:07 by f-hackenberger)