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Coffee is a News & Weather App for Ubuntu Desktops

a screenshot of the coffee news and weather app

We all like to keep a beady eye on the world around us, be it to track the latest egregious mishap by gaffe-prone politicians, scores from our favourite sports team, and so on.

‘Coffee shows current news headlines from major publications, as well as weather information for your location’

Coffee is a new Linux app that helps you to stay up-to-date with current news and weather without needing to touch the new tab button in your browser.

Inspired by Google Now on Android, Coffee displays a selection of current news headlines from major news publications, as well as weather information for your current location (or any location you choose manually).

Coffee’s developers say the app will “benefit people who just want to get a quick overview of the top news articles and weather information on their coffee breaks” without needing to load up a fully fledged news application, web browser, or RSS reader.

And on that score the app fully meets its brief.

Coffee News & Weather App

Coffee runs in a tall, vertical window that is fixed to the right-hand side of the screen. You cannot resize this window or easily move it.

The application window is also set to display ‘Always on Top’, so you can’t hide or obscure it using another windows.

Personally, I’d prefer to see the ‘always on top’ behaviour made optional in a future update. I’d be happy to leave the app running, there to brief me whenever I close whatever app I’m actually working with.

It Shows Weather

Coffee detects your current location automatically (using GeoClue) but you can enter a location manually through the settings section if you’d rather (or, in my case, because the auto-detection isn’t super precise).

When a valid location is set you’ll see a prominent overview of current weather conditions plus a short text summary of what to expect later in the day. There’s also a brief 5 day forecast.

Weather data is fetched from the Darksky service.

It Shows News Headlines

Although, sadly, OMG! Ubuntu! is not among the news sources you can select (sob!) some major news sites are, including The Next Web, BBC Sport, The Guardian and Engadget.

The news feature uses the News API. This seems to rank stories (seemingly) on their recency rather than on an arcane “trending” algorithm or relevancy metric.

It Also Has Bugs

For a first release Coffee works well enough, but I did encounter a number of bugs while using it on Ubuntu 17.10.

For one, there’s no easy way to close or exit the app. I had to use the GNOME Shell Activities Overview, highlight the app, and click the ‘x’ button there to send it away. (Edit: turns out you just need to press the Esc key — thanks Heimen).

Clicking on a news article in Coffee does not open the link in the default browser. Instead it causes the vertical webkit-based window to turn blank.

The icon for ‘settings’ is missing from the main window under Ubuntu’s default icon set, and the layout of news source in the settings section is a little off:

Install Coffee on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Coffee is a free, open-source application. The source code can be found on Github.

You can install Coffee on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS using the project’s official PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:coffee-team/coffee
sudo apt update && sudo apt install com.github.nick92.coffee

To install and run the app on a more recent Ubuntu release (e.g., 17.04 or 17.10) you will need to download an installer from the above PPA and install it the old fashion way (i.e. double click on it).

Download Coffee Installer