Convenient system clean-up with Stacer

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Lead Image © konstantynov, 123RF.com

Lead Image © konstantynov, 123RF.com

Article from Issue 206/2018
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Stacer is a handy graphical tool for cleaning up your Linux system.

Classic command-line utilities are considered the go-to tools for system administration, but some powerful graphical tools also are available for monitoring and optimizing a Linux system. One of those tools is Stacer, which lives on GitHub [1]. Sourceforge [2] also offers sources for compiling, as well as a DEB packages for 32- and 64-bit systems and an AppImage for 64-bit machines. In this article, I take a close look at the Stacer AppImage version. (See the box titled "AppImage" for more on the AppImage format.)

AppImage

If AppImage [3] does not mean anything to you, you're not alone. Other cross-distribution packaging alternatives, such as Snap and Flatpak, have received much more attention. AppImage, which has been under development since 2004 (initially known as Klik and later as PortableLinuxApps), is relatively unknown. The apps packaged in AppImage format run without installation.

What Is Stacer?

Stacer was designed for Ubuntu but works with any distribution, with a couple of restrictions. The application, created by GitHub developers, is based on the Electron framework [4] and can be used for building cross-platform apps on the basis of JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. Skype for Linux and the Atom editor, Franz messenger, and Darktable image processing tool are some of the better known representatives of the framework.

After downloading the AppImage, I distributed it to various virtual machines running Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Mageia, Manjaro, Apricity OS, and openSUSE and tried a static installation with Siduction (Debian Unstable). Stacer ran on all the distributions tested. On systems with KDE Plasma desktop, however, you need to launch Stacer as root because of a kdesu authorization error.

Before the first start, you need to make the AppImage executable, which you can do as a user working in the directory where the package is located; then, run Stacer from the same directory:

$ chmod a+x Stacer-1.0.6-x86_64.AppImage
$ ./Stacer-1.0.6-x86_64.AppImage

A message tells you that the setup routine is adding the application to the menu and putting an icon on the desktop, which is the only way in which the application changes your computer. Alternatively, you can launch Stacer, like all AppImage applications, by double-clicking on the executable file.

Graphically Managed

Stacer welcomes you with a modern window featuring six tabs: Dashboard, System Cleaner, Startup Apps, Services, Uninstaller, and Resources (Figure 1). The window is static, which means you can neither increase nor decrease its size.

Figure 1: Among other things, the Stacer start screen displays animated CPU, Memory, and Disk Space gauges.

The program always starts with the Dashboard, which only provides information and does not allow any interaction. The Dashboard gives you a animated view of CPU, Memory, Disk Space, and network interface utilization, as well as information about the installed processor and operating system.

System Cleaner

The System Cleaner tab (Figure 2) helps you ditch the ballast: This is where you can remove unnecessary log or cache files and empty the trash can on your system. In the initial state, Stacer does not provide any data for trash disposal; you first need to enable the desired categories and then launch a system scan.

Figure 2: In the System Cleaner section, you can get rid of temporary files, caches, and old logfiles.

Caution is advisable in the App Cache tab: Deleting here could slow down application launch, and you should proceed with caution when it comes to the logs and keep at least the current X.org log and the Apt and Dpkg logfiles. Numbered logs are always older and can typically be disposed of without any worries.

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