Rekonq To Be The Default Web Browser In Kubuntu 10.10

With the Ubuntu Developer Summit going on, we are constantly receiving reports of new changes and feature addition for Maverick.

The latest news that caught my attention is that Rekonq is going to be the default browser in Kubuntu 10.10.

Rekonq is a KDE web browser based off of Nokia’s QtDemoBrowser, which is what  the Arora web browser is based on. Rekonq’s focus is to provide a  QtWebKit-based web browser with superior KDE integration. Its aim is to  embrace KDE technologies to have a fully-featured KDE web browser.
Features:
  • Tabbed browsing
  • Uses KDE download system for downloading files
  • Shares bookmarks with Konqueror
  • Supports proxies and anonymous browsing
  • Can inspect web pages

Although many might not have heard of Rekonq, its is quite a solid browser with a lot of potential. I did a HTML5 compatibility test about a month back and was quite surprised to find that it outperformed even Firefox and Opera. However, what bothers me is that it is not as polished as I would like it to be. Hopefully by the time for the release of Kubuntu 10.10, it will be sufficiently polished.

If you want to try out Rekonq, open the terminal and execute the command given below:

sudo apt-get install rekong

New Default Applications For Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10

In the UDS-M, it has been decided that there will most likely be some changes in the applications that are installed by default with Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10.

Here are the new applications that are being considered for UNE 10.10:

Chromium

It has been decided to have Chromium as the default web browser rather than Firefox. One of the main reasons for choosing Chromium is its speed. However, there are still some concern regarding Chromium’s non-native look and how it  will work with Global Menu. As of now the decision to include Chromium is only till Alpha 3, after which they will take the final decision regarding its inclusion.

Shotwell

F-Spot, currently the default photo management application in UNE, will most likely be Shotwell in UNE 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

Megoo Media Player/Banshee

A lot of discussion has been going on regarding the media player for UNE 10.10. The focus is on having a Unified Media Player – one which can play both video and audio. Various applications have been looked at. However, Banshee seems to be the front runner as it already has Ubuntu One Music Store Integration and there is no disk space issue as UNE already comes with Mono.

Evolution Express

There were also discussions about the default email client. Instead of opting for a new application, it has been decided to have a version of Evolution optimized for netbook by default. Such a version of Evolution, called Evolution Express, already exist.

[source: blueprints.edge.launchpad.net]

Linux Mint 9 is Expected to Release Very Soon

mint-logo According to Clem at the Linux Mint Blog, version 9 of Linux Mint will soon be ready for public release. Here’s what Clem says about it:

Looking at the remaining bugs and considering the amount of testing needed I would say we’re about 1 week away from releasing Linux Mint 9. I know most operating systems and distributions stick to release dates and announce them well in advance but I see no reason not to release something once it’s ready …

Clem stated this on Monday of this week, so we can expect to see some action shortly after the coming weekend. Last week, our Linux guru, Pallab, gave us a quick run-down on the features we can expect to see in the new Mint. I enjoy using Mint and nearly always keep a copy of it on home machines. Here’s a snapshot of version 8 on my netbook:

linux-mint-8

Here’s a video showing off the look and feel of Mint 9.

Link to video

The major change for Mint 9 will be that it’s running on top of the new Ubuntu 10.4. Mint is one of the best versions of Linux for new users because it’s ready to use as soon as it’s installed. Ubuntu is often missing multimedia codecs, players such as Adobe Flash and support for some types of movie files.

New users will also have no problems figuring out the program menus which are similar to those used in Windows. When my nieces and nephews drop in for a visit, I often make them use Mint to surf the net. That way, I don’t have to worry about my PC getting infected with the latest Facebook or MySpace bugs. It’s bullet proof! (kid proof)

I am looking forward to trying out the new Mint next week. What are you doing next week?

Ubuntu Will Switch to a User Mode X Server Soon

Ubuntu has already switched to a kernel mode setting to run most of the OS components. A primary advantage of kernel mode setting is that it lets us run OS components seamlessly without too much of swapping and context switching. This nifty feature present from kernel 2.6.32 onwards has been used on Intel, AMD and NVidia hardware and is already in place in Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.

A better understanding of Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) is provided here:

Kernel Mode Setting is all about taking the bulk of the Graphics Driver code out of the X server and putting it into the Kernel.  This means that the kernel has Graphics Drivers just like the kernel has Network Card Drivers, Wireless Drivers, USB Drivers, etc.

Most importantly, the kernel can set the mode whenever we need to and restore it on resume.  The three most user-visible results of this are:

  • a high-color, high-resolution splash screen during boot with a seamless (no black screen) transition into the X server
  • fast and seamless transition between X servers when user switching
  • extraordinarily fast resume from suspend directly into graphics (no blinking text cursor)

This was all about kernel mode setting running on Lucid though, at the latest Ubuntu Developer Summit in Brussels, there were talks on moving X.Org Server to the user-space and running it as a normal user instead of the current root. This can already be seen in Moblin.

The only  hindrance  in this is the presence of hardware that does not use KMS already. This change is expected to appear in Ubuntu 11.04 by the earlier.
(Via: Phoronix)

Linagora Acquires Mandriva

Mandriva, the Linux distro and the company behind this distro are both up for sale as confirmed by one of the potential buyers. Mandriva is a French company with a Linux distro by the same name. This announcement was made on the French Mandriva portal.

Mandriva is a merger of the Mandrake and the Conectiva  distro. Though, it seems like the company is in heavy losses and cannot hold up anymore. Mandriva is also well knows for filing a  bankruptcy  protection earlier. This time though, it is simply giving up for good.

Mandriva is said to have decided on this a month ago and is looking for potential buyers ever since. A potential buyer includes Linagora, which is a French open-source company. Lingaroa has also confirmed that it is going to acquire Mandriva and they have already started moving Mandriva assets.

Mandriva has been a very popular Linux distro and has gathered a strong following. Once this acquisition completes, Linagora should assure Mandriva users with a continued support and development.

(Via: Unixmen)

Global Menu Comes To KDE SC

In the Ubuntu Developers Summit, Aurelien Gateau presented a project that he has been working on for the next Kubuntu release i.e. Kubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. He introduced a Global Menu for KDE SC following the announcement of Global Menu for GNOME that Mark Shuttleworth made earlier. However, the feature is being developed for KDE SC 3.x and has not been ported to KDE SC 4.x yet.

The Global Menu implementation uses D-Bus, which means that GTK+ applications running in KDE will also have its menu bar in the Global Menu. As Shuttleworth pointed out when he introduced the Global Menu earlier, this is mainly aimed at  Netbook users to maximize the vertical pixel usage at the expense of horizontal space.

Here is a video to demonstrate the Global Menu:

[via agateau.wordpress.com]

GNOME 3.0 Will Feature A New User Guide

The Gnome Team is very enthusiastic about the new Gnome 3.0 help. This help is being created by the Gnome Documentation team and they are using Mallard to rewrite the complete help for Gnome. Included in this reform are some Gnome applications as well.

gnome-logo

The use of Mallard will render a better quality help system for Gnome 3.0.

Mallard is a markup language that makes it easier for you to provide better user help for your software. Mallard documents are  topic-oriented: They provide information in small chunks that match your users’ needs without forcing them to read lengthy manuals.

The earlier help files were created using a Docbook XML but Mallad here is a new XML language and will need some quick learning for the documentation writers.

The goal of this rewrite is to get users to the topic they are looking for instantly. The applications included in this rewrite list are  Banshee,  Brasero,  Cheese,  F-Spot,  gLabels,  Rhythmbox and  Tomboy.

The Documentation team is also offering help on using Mallard if you want to contribute to the new Gnome Help.

A new user guide will simply help newbies in Getting Things Gnome!
(Via: Paul Cutler’s Blog)

Ubuntu Light – An Instant-On Ubuntu Coming For OEMs

In the Ubuntu Developer Summit, Mark Shuttleworth a very exciting new variant of Ubuntu – Ubuntu Light.

Ubuntu Light is meant to be an instant-on OS to be supplied by OEM, as a dual boot installation with other OS (like Windows). Ubuntu Light will be easy to use for new users, safe for web browsing in unprotected environments like airports and hotels, focused on doing that job very well, but upgradeable with a huge list of applications, on demand. It will not have a traditional file manager and come with a small set of default applications for mail, web, media etc.

This is what Shuttleworth wrote:

Instant-on, dual boot installations are a new frontier for us. Over the past two years we have made great leaps forward as a first class option for PC OEM’s, who today ship millions of PC’s around the world with Ubuntu pre-installed. But traditionally, it’s been an either/orproposition either Windows in markets that prefer it, or Ubuntu in markets that don’t. The dual-boot opportunity gives us the chance to put a free software foot forward even in markets where people use Windows as a matter of course.

Unlike the other variants, Ubuntu Light will not be available for download from ubuntu.com. It will be especially optimized for each OEM so that it boots faster with the hardware in use. Right now the focus is on Ubuntu Netbook Light which is based on Unity. However, Canonical hopes to introduce a Light version for the desktop as well later.

Unity – New Netbook Interface For Ubuntu

Today Mark Shuttleworth announced a new interface for Ubuntu Netbook Edition – Unity. The main focus of Unity are maximization of screen resource, mainly the vertical pixel, and making it suitable for touch-screen devices.

This is what Shuttleworth wrote about Unity:

The desktop screenshots we studied showed that people typically have between 3 and 10 launchers on their panels, for rapid access to key applications. We want to preserve that sense of having a few favorite applications that are instantly accessible. Rather than making it equally easy to access any installed application, we assume that almost everybody will run one of a few apps, and they need to switch between those apps and any others which might be running, very easily.

We focused on maximising screen real estate for content. In particular, we focused on maximising the available vertical pixels for web browsing. Netbooks have screens which are wide, but shallow. Notebooks in general are moving to wide screen formats. So vertical space is more precious than horizontal space.

We also want to embrace touch as a first class input. We want people to be able to launch and switch between applications using touch, so the launcher must be finger friendly.

The changes introduced in Unity are:

The bottom panel moved to the left of the screen

The bottom panel has been moved to the left of the screen and it devoted for launching and switching between applications. This frees up vertical space at the cost of horizontal space, as most netbooks nowadays uses widescreen displays.

Left-hand launcher expands so that it is touch-friendly

The left-hand launcher panel will be expanded so that it is touch-friendly. The Unity launcher will show what’s running, and support fast switching and drag-and-drop between applications.

Top-panel will use Global Menu

The top panel will use the global menu that we wrote about sometimes back.

If you want, you can  get a  preview Unity in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx as well.

Ubuntu Women Project Team is Being Restructured

The Ubuntu Women Team is being restructured and a new election process will be put in place to elect the next leaders This time though, there is not one single leader but three leaders being elected.

Ubuntu-Women is a team functioning under Ubuntu to provide a platform and encouragement for women to contribute to Ubuntu-Linux.

An EC funded study (2006) summarized in the FLOSSpolls indicates that about 1.5% of FLOSS community members are female compared to 28% of proprietary software.

Ubuntu-Women is an attempt to better this picture.

The nomination page has two running contenders: Melissa and Lyz. If you want to run for this nomination, register at this page.

The three elected leaders will span across all activities under the community. The benefits of forming a leadershiop community are:

  • Co-leaders can manage the group effectively and provide more leaders for better handling of the community.
  • Co-leaders can divide the job and give individual attention.
  • Co-leaders can provide more expertise.
  • Co-leaders can give different perspectives on topics and explore more options.

The complete election process is explained in details at this page. Keep following the election process for more updates.