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Alleviate tired eyes in Ubuntu with Redshift

If you’re anything like me you probably spend far too much time in front of your computer screen(s). We’re all acutely aware that this isn’t entirely fantastic news for our eyes or our sleep patterns but we stare away nonetheless.

If so then make sure you check out ‘Redshift‘ — it automatically adjusts your screen colour temperature to that of your surroundings which can help alleviate strain on your eyes.

It sounds like magic. What does it do?

redshift-icon-256-150x150
I’ll let the official blurb from Redshift’s website explain: -

The color temperature of your screen is set according to the position of the sun. A different color temperature is set during night and daytime. During twilight and early morning, the color temperature transitions smoothly from night to daytime temperature to allow your eyes to slowly adapt. At night the color temperature should be set to match the lamps in your room. This is typically a low temperature at around 3000K-4000K (default is 3700K). During the day, the color temperature should match the light from outside, typically around 5500K-6500K (default is 5500K). The light has a higher temperature on an overcast day.

Installation

Lucid & Karmic users can install Redshift from the official PPA: -

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonls/redshift-ppa
  • sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install redshift

Setting location

For Redshift to work effectively (i.e. match your time zone) you need to use some command-line fu to set your location. Don’t intake breath so sharply — it’s painless!
First find the longitude and latitude for your country/city @ http://www.getlatlon.com/
Next open up a terminal and enter the following command using the location found above as lat:lon like so: -

  • redshift -l 55.7:12.6

So for Malmö, Sweden you would enter: -

  • redshift -l 55.6:13.0

If you wish to have Redshift run automatically (without needing a terminal open) then set it as a System > Preferences > Start-up Application using the same command as above or, to use Redshift with a toggle-able tray icon, use the command ‘gtk-redshift’ instead of ‘redshift’.

Alas it has a sucky non-mono tray icon — who’s going to be first to sort that out?

Redshift status icon

Thanks to dRewsus