27 March 2018

Alternative to f.lux for Ubuntu is Redshift

When using the computer in dimly lit surroundings, it helps to lower the brightness of the screen. One popular application for Windows was f.lux, and although they appear to have created a version for Linux, Ubuntu users don't need to install f.lux. We have Redshift.

Redshift can be installed hassle-free directly from the Ubuntu software center. Better still, don't even bother installing the GUI. Just install using
sudo apt-get install redshift

I was initially disappointed when Redshift didn't start because the computer wasn't connected to the internet and Redshift didn't start because it couldn't estimate my location (and hence the time of the day)...which made me wonder why it's programmed in such a dumb way.

Then I discovered that it's just a matter of using:
redshift -O 3000

You can change that 3000 to any other value, depending on your comfort.

Some laptops don't allow the brightness to go below a certain level (in which case you can also use xrandr), and the blue light from the screen is quite bright. Redshift creates an apparent reddish colour on the screen which is actually a bit comfortable.
Still better, you can even change the gamma with Redshift:
redshift -O 3000 -g .5

To remove the effect of redshift, simply type:
redshift -x

Inspite of this, I'd still recommend having ambient lighting, and not working in the dark. Even with Redshift, the monitor is bright and the surroundings are dark.

ps: Reports of digital screens making us lose sleep is a myth. We lose sleep because we force ourselves to stay awake. Not because of the digital screen's blue light. When you feel sleepy, just go to sleep instead of forcing yourself to stay awake longer.

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