I've just upgraded to beta 2 of Oneiric/11.10 and the typing break has gone.

I've gone into the system settings and looked in "Keyboard Layout" and "Keyboard" and can't find anything. Has it just been dropped?

Is there some hidden way to re-enable it?


7 Answers 7



Gnome 3 developers have dropped this from gnome-control-center with a recommendation that it be repackaged and available as a separate application. A launchpad wishlist item was requested.

An alternative in for typing break is workrave. It is now available as a backport:

sudo apt-get install workrave

You need to white-list this application to appear in the Unity indicator-applet. Read this question if you want a more detailed explanation about what to do.


An enterprising developer has resurrected DrWright for Precise. The package is available from a PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:drwright/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install drwright


Note, that for 12.10,13.10,14.04 ppa is not up to date, so you have to use precise repositories:

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/drwright/stable/ubuntu precise main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/drwright/stable/ubuntu precise main

Find the applet in the Control-Center to launch:

enter image description here

image and source for the information

In a similar manner as for 11.10, workrave is available from the Precise Universe repository if you do not wish to use a PPA.

  • Any update for 12.10?
    – takeshin
    Jan 19, 2013 at 12:29
  • @takeshin: same as for 12.04 Feb 7, 2013 at 10:38
  • @HamishDowner Thanks, works after downgrading to precise repos
    – takeshin
    Feb 7, 2013 at 11:11
  • 2
    It's not working for 14.04
    – Moreno
    Aug 11, 2014 at 16:37

RSIBreak is a good alternative for Workrave! You can easily get it via Ubuntu Software Center!

It is a KDE application (so it will it install alot of the KDE packages) - however it works OK in Unity.




Patched for unity and set default to disabled. After you install it, log out / log in. You can find it in gnome control center.

You can convert the drwright rpm to a deb package:

sudo apt-get install alien  
sudo alien -c drwright-3.2.2-1.fc17.i686.rpm  
sudo dpkg -i drwright_3.2.2-2_i386.deb  

Once you install it, typing breaks are configurable via the System Settings menu.

  • 1
    Any update for 12.10?
    – takeshin
    Jan 19, 2013 at 12:29
  • Features? Can you describe how it compares to typing break or workrave?
    – nealmcb
    Oct 28, 2015 at 20:36

I have made Workrave kinda working again in Unity, via a floating xfce4-panel:


It is a hack, but I use it now and it works.

  • Can you please update your "hack" for 14.04?
    – rubo77
    Aug 25, 2014 at 14:43
  • 1
    I couldn't get into the settings of workrave in Unity. but I used this tip: The settings of workrave can be acceced directly from dconf through org.workrave.timers
    – rubo77
    Aug 25, 2014 at 14:53
  • Sorry, I stopped using both Unity and Workrave.
    – ayke
    Aug 25, 2014 at 17:59

you could try the simpler xwrits

sudo apt-get install xwrits

it's in the standard repositories and all

but you'll have to read its manual

man xwrits

and tell ubuntu to start it every time on 'startup applications'


Since it is not in the repository any more, I started to program a new tool in bash with zenity called typebreak.

It is configurable inside the source and does the trick on most Linux systems.

simply download the file from the repository and eventually the file mouse-speed too if you like to slow down the mouse as penalty for not obeying the micro-break


The typing break is back in Ubuntu 14.04, as mate-typing-monitor (part of the MATE desktop).

It appears to be included in the mate-control-center package that gets installed as part of mate-desktop-environment-core (see MATE wiki for detailed instructions on adding MATE repository and installing MATE 1.8.1).

Note that just installing mate-desktop (from Ubuntu's official repository) is not enough, you need to add MATE repository according to the wiki instructions in order to see the package.

  • 1
    How do you install it then?
    – rubo77
    Aug 25, 2014 at 14:57
  • Well, our company Ubuntu images come with MATE pre-installed, so I haven't done this myself, but I guess you just need to install MATE. It should be a part of the mate-control-center package, so make sure it is installed. It will then appear as /usr/bin/mate-typing-monitor.
    – Tuetschek
    Aug 26, 2014 at 15:57
  • I installed sudo apt-get install mate-desktop but the typing-monitor is not there yet
    – rubo77
    Aug 26, 2014 at 16:05
  • 1
    But that installs the whole desktop alternative MATE. Isn't there a way to use the typing break in Ubuntu-Desktop 14.04 with Unity? When I try this from the console in Uity, I get (mate-typing-monitor:29007): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_hash_table_insert_internal: assertion 'hash_table != NULL' failed
    – rubo77
    Aug 28, 2014 at 23:57
  • 1
    Ahh - so it isn't in Ubuntu, but is in the Mate Desktop PPA. That implies various potential complications from packaging, and a rather different level of support than an LTA release, and a different approach to security patching etc. But good to know!
    – nealmcb
    Oct 28, 2015 at 20:43

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