Linux 2.6.39 Released – Better AMD Graphics Card Support And Better Performance With EXT4

Linux Torvalds has announced the release of Linux 2.6.39. Compared to Linux 2.6.38, this is a rather modest release. Nevertheless, there are some new exciting features, and a few bugs worth mentioning.

Announcing the release, Torvalds expressed some doubts as to whether he should have done a RC instead of the final build. This is what Torvalds wrote announcing the release:

There were certainly more code changes since -rc7 than I really was all that happy with, and some outstanding discussion. Doing another -rc wouldn’t necessarily have been a bad idea, but then I just decided that if I held off making the release, next week my timing choices would have been even worse.


Linux 2.6.39 brings with it an update to the Radeon driver. The new kernel now supports AMD Cayman series of graphics cards. The support is not complete, though, as 2D and 3D acceleration are not available yet because of DRM issues.

A bug in the open source Nouveau driver for NVIDIA graphics cards, which causes performance issues, have also been fixed.

Better performance with EXT4 filesystems

EXT4 on Linux continues its improvement with Linux 2.6.39. By default, EXT4 filesystems on Linux 2.6.29 will use the “Multiple Page-IO Submissions” option. This feature had been available since Linux 2.6.37, but has been enabled by default only in this release. Enabling the “Multiple Page-IO Submissions” option is said to bring about a considerable improvement in the performance of the file system.

These are not the only new features in Linux 2.6.39. If you want to see all the changes, you should refer to the change log.

The known bugs

There are already two known bugs, or rather regressions, found in Linux 2.6.39.

Linux 2.6.39 has not, unfortunately, fixed a very important bug that was also found in Linux 2.6.38 – the power consumption bug.

A new bug that has crept in at the last-minute is the broken support for Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors.

[Sources: H-Online Phoronix]

Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” Release Schedule

Now that Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” had been released and the developers have decided on the course that the next release will take, the release schedule of Ubuntu 11.10, codenamed “Oneiric Ocelot”, has been released.

According to the release schedule, we will see the first alpha of Ubuntu 11.10 as early as 2nd June and the final release is scheduled on 13th October. Here are the important milestones for the Ubuntu 11.10 development cycle:

2nd June Alpha 1

30th June Alpha 2

4th August Alpha 3

1st September Beta 1

23rd September Beta 2

6th October Release Candidate

13th October Final Release

Ubuntu 11.10 will continue to use the Unity interface. The classic desktop option found in Ubuntu 11.04 will be replaced by Unity 2D. Although Ubuntu 11.10 will use Unity, the GNOME stack will be updated to GNOME 3. The GNOME Display manager is also expected to be dropped in favor the LightDM.

There are also a few new applications that are making their way into Ubuntu 11.10 such as the back up tool Deja Dup and email client Thunderbird. Technically, Thunderbird has not been confirmed for inclusion, but it is very likely that it will replace Evolution. A few applications such as the video editor PiTiVi and Computer Janitor have been dropped. You can read more about the changes expected in Ubuntu 11.10 from our coverage of the Ubuntu Developers Summit.

If you want the detailed release schedule, check it out here.

How To Backup Your Files Using Deja Dup [Ubuntu] Part-2

This is the second part of the article  How To Backup Your Files Using Deja Dup [Ubuntu]. If you have not read the first part, I suggest that you do so.

In the first part, we discussed how to install Deja Dup and how to set up the storage location and the select the folders to be backed up. Now we continue with how you can set up the backup schedules.

After setting up the folders to back up, we have the most important part – scheduling the backup. Deja Dup allows you to take backups either manually or automatically. If you want to take backups manually, uncheck the box next to  Automatically back up on a regular schedule. It is, however, recommended that you allow Deja Dup to take backups automatically.

If you choose to let Deja Dup take up the backups automatically, pick how often Deja Dup will back up. A daily backup could be quite tedious. So, I recommend the weekly backup unless you have critical data. The next fieldKeep backups is very important. We want to keep enough backups in case something goes wrong. But at the same time keeping backups for a very long time can take up a lot of disk space unnecessarily. For a weekly backup schedule, keeping the backups for a month or two is sufficient. Keeping the backups forever is not recommended as very old backups will become obsolete.

Once you have set up Deja Dup to take backups automatically, you do not need to do anything except when you have to restore a backup. If you choose to do a manual backup though, you have to launch the application  Deja Dup Backup Tool every time you want to take a backup and click on  Back Up. Remember that taking backups will take time and in Ubuntu 11.04, the progress is shown in the launcher.

Restoring Backups

Restoring files using Deja Dup is incredibly easy. Open the  Deja Dup Backup Tool and click on Restore. Now you have to select the location where the backup files are located. Make sure to check the box next to  Backup files are encrypted if you encrypted them as recommended. After you have selected the backup location, you can choose which backup to restore and if you want to restore in the original location or to another location. Select your chose and Deja Dup will start the restoration. Depending to the size of the backups, it could take a while to complete the restoration.

Deja Dup Vs Other Backup Tools

Deja Dup is by no means the most powerful backup tool available for Ubuntu.  However, the advantage that Deja Dup have over the other backup tools is its simplicity. Deja Dup is so simple to use that anyone who can operate a computer will be able to use it. Yes, Deja Dup lacks certain features such as  restoring a single file etc. But it has most of the features that a normal user would expect from a backup tool.

As  mentioned  in the first paragraph, Deja Dup will be included as a default application in Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”. In the earlier Ubuntu releases too, I consider Deja Dup as a must have application.


How To Backup Your Files Using Deja Dup [Ubuntu] Part-1

Ubuntu 11.10 is going to come with a backup tool – Deja Dup – by default. Using Deja Dup is not difficult. In this article, I will explain how you can use Deja Dup to back up the files in your Ubuntu machine.


Before we get to how to use it, here is how to install Deja Dup in Ubuntu. Deja Dup is in the Ubuntu main repository. So to install it, open the Terminal and execute the command,

$ sudo apt-get install deja-dup

After the installation, you can find Deja Dup using the Dash in Ubuntu 11.04. If you are using an earlier version of Ubuntu or the Classic Desktop in Ubuntu 11.04, you will find Deja Dup under Applications > System Tools.

Backing up files

Before you start using Deja Dup, you need to set it up first. Run the application Deja Dup Backup Preferences. Under the tab, Storage, you have to specify the backup location. Deja Dup supports backup to local folder, Amazon S3, Rackspace Cloud, FTP, SSH, WebDAV and Windows Share. Pick the backup location – most of the users will backup to local folder. For added security, it is recommended that you check the box next to Encrypt backup files.

If you pick Local Folder, select the folder where you want to store the backups. It is recommended that you select a folder on a different hard disk from the one you are taking the the backup. Also note that the backup files might require a large memory. So, make sure there is enough space available in the backup folder.

Now that we have set up the backup location, we need to select the folders we want to back up of. To do that, click on the next tab, Files. There are two fields – Include files in folders and Except files in folder. In the first field, you can select the folders of which you want to take back up of. Deja Dup will take backups of all the files inside the folder and those in the sub folders. The second field can be used to exclude sub-folders inside the folders included in the first field from being backed up.

The next step is to decide if you want to do either a manual backup or an automatic backup. Choosing automatic backup means that you have to schedule the backup and select how long Deja Dup holds on to the backup files. For those details and how to restore the files, read the second part of this coming up soon.

Dell Releases Chromium OS for the Mini 10v

Today, Dell’s Technology Strategist, Doug Anson announced that a Chromium OS build for the Mini 10v netbook is available for download from their website.

Chromium OS is the open source version of Google’s Chrome OS. Like Chrome OS, it is a minimalist operating system with just a browser – Chromium browser. Chrome OS and Chromium OS are quite similar to each other except for a few things like verified boot.

The only known problem with the Chromium OS build for the Mini 10v is that sound is broken. Dell, with the help of Broadcom, has managed to get the Wi-Fi on the Mini 10v working, though.

So, if you own a Dell Mini 10v and want to get a feel of Chrome OS, you should consider installing this build that Dell has released. First you will need to download the image file from Dell’s server.

Download Chromium OS for Dell Mini 10v


  1. Installing Chromium OS will wipe out your hard drive.
  2. Dell does not provide support for Chromium OS.

After downloading the file, extract the file. If you are on Linux you can do it with the command,

$ gunzip ChromiumOS_x86_May13.img.gz

If you are on Windows, you can extract it using applications such as WinZip and 7-zip.

After extracting, you will get an IMG file. Make a bootable flash drive with the ISO file. Boot the Mini 10v from the flash drive and login using the username dell and password dell1234.

Once logged in, press ALT+CTRL+L to bring up the Terminal. In the terminal, type

$ install

Once that is done, type

$ exit

The terminal will close. Reboot and you should have Chromium OS on your Mini 10v.

[source: H-Online]

Run Linux In Your Browser

Linux is often considered as a geeky OS when compared to Windows and Mac OS X, however, over the past few years it has become much easier to use and almost emulates a desktop environment which is similar to Windows and Mac.

There are several popular Linux Distros like Ubuntu, Fedora,   JoliCloud, Linux Mint and more which are now widely used by people. If you want to try out Linux you can also dual-boot on your Windows machine (see Install Ubuntu in Windows). However, if you are someone who is afraid of installing additional software on your computer, you can now test out Linux from your web browser, albeit only the command prompt.

The Linux browser emulator was created thanks to a port of an emulator called QEMU to JavaScript.

QEMU is a generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer.

When used as a machine emulator, QEMU can run OSes and programs made for one machine (e.g. an ARM board) on a different machine (e.g. your own PC). By using dynamic translation, it achieves very good performance.

When used as a virtualizer, QEMU achieves near native performances by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU. QEMU supports virtualization when executing under the Xen hypervisor or using the KVM kernel module in Linux. When using KVM, QEMU can virtualize x86, server and embedded PowerPC, and S390 guests.

The emulator has been written by Fabrice Bellard, a famous open source developer who has also developed several other popular projects in the past. The Linux PC emulator is written completely in JavaScript and was compiled using 2.6.20 Linux Kernel. The emulated hardware consists of the following things:

  • a 32 bit x86 compatible CPU
  • a 8259 Programmble Interrupt Controller
  • a 8254 Programmble Interrupt Timer
  • a 16450 UART.


Run Linux in Browser

Most of the modern browsers sport faster and smarter JavaScript engines. The Linux emulator for browsers goes on to show how powerful JavaScript has become and what it could be used to do.

The developer has tested Linux in browser in and 11. The beta version of Google Chrome is not yet supported. You can test out the Linux OS in the browser by visiting Also visit this technical notes page for more information on the Linux emulator for the browser.

Amarok 2.4.1 “Resolution” Released For Kubuntu 11.04

Yesterday, the Kubuntu team announced that Amarok 2.4.1, code-named Resolution, is now available for installation in Kubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”.

Amarok 2.4.1 is the latest stable version of Amarok and was released during the second week of this month. It mainly contain bug fixes from Amarok 2.4. There are a few new features, though:

  • Support for NFS and SMB/CIFS collections has been added.
  • The text alignment in the lyrics applet can now be changed.
  • Integration of services.
  • The album applet supports string filtering.

Yesterday, Amarok 2.4.1 was made available in the Kubuntu Backports PPA. Right now, packages for Amarok 2.4.1 are available only for Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal”. To install it in Ubuntu 11.04, open the Konsole and add the Kubuntu Backports PPA.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/backports

After adding the PPA, update the software list with the command

$ sudo apt-get update

If you already have Amarok installed, upgrade it with,

$ sudo apt-get upgrade

Note: This will upgrade all your packages.

Or, if you do not have Amarok installed or want to upgrade only Amarok, leaving the rest as it is,

$ sudo apt-get install amarok

After the installation, you will find Amarok under Kickoff > Applications > Multimedia > Amarok.

Amarok 2.4.1 can also be installed in Ubuntu 11.04 using the same method as above. However, if you are installing it in Ubuntu, some KDE packages will also be downloaded and installed.

Ubuntu Studio Leaves GNOME; Moves To Xfce

In a surprising development, the Ubuntu Studio developers have decided to switch over from GNOME to Xfce.  Ubuntu Studio is an official Ubuntu derivative which is developed mainly for multimedia works. Unlike Ubuntu, it comes installed with a number of applications for video, audio and image editing etc.

In an email to the Ubuntu Studio mailing list, Ubuntu Studio developer Cory K announced that from the next release – that is Ubuntu Studio 11.10 – they will not be using GNOME. Instead of GNOME, they have decided that they will use the light weight Xfce desktop environment. Unity and the GNOME Shell are cited as the result for leaving GNOME. The developers feel that neither Unity nor GNOME Shell is a good choice for their target users.

After various discussions, investigation and tinkering the Ubuntu Studio team have decided to re-base the project on XFCE. The team simple feel that Unity and GNOME-Shell do not fit our target audience or intended workflow.

From the next release, we will see Ubuntu Studio with Xfce with a custom user interface. The new user interface will be based on Avant Windows Manager while keeping Xfce as the base.

The biggest challenge for the Ubuntu Studio developers could be providing a smooth upgrade path for the Ubuntu Studio users when the next release come. Because of the change in the desktop environment, creating a smooth upgrade path from Ubuntu Studio 11.04 to Ubuntu Studio 11.10 is going to be challenging for the developers. Cory K addressed this issue and said that they will ensure a smooth upgrade.

Personally, I feel that the Ubuntu Studio deleopers made the right call. While Unity could be a great idea for normal users, for the target users of Ubuntu Studio, it seems a bit too gimmicky. Besides, the workflow change in Unity and GNOME Shell could be a little challenging to get used to.

source:  Ubuntu Studio Mailing list

The Case Of LibreOffice And CD Space Restriction At UDS-O

Last week, we talked about the constrain of the CD size and the need for Ubuntu to move to a DVD ISO. Well, today at the Default Apps Discussion, something happened which further supports the need to move to a DVD image.

As usual, the disk space is a big constrain for Ubuntu 11.10. Before any new applications or packages are approved, the council has to make sure that there is enough free space to put them. The way to get free space generally is to drop applications and packages that are no longer in use – like PiTiVi and Computer Janitor that had been dropped from Ubuntu 11.10.

Believe it or not, one of the application that was brought up for removal during the Default Apps Discussion was none other the LibreOffice. Yes, LibreOffice the office applications suite. The rationale behind it was that removing LibreOffice will free up some serious disk space (around 60MB) and “we aren’t office workers”. It was suggested that a desktop file that offers to download and install LibreOffice after the OS installation be included.

It is just amazing that there was even a discussion on removing applications as important as LibreOffice just because of the CD space constrain. Common sense, however, prevailed and it was decided that LibreOffice will be kept as a default application in Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”.

This further strengthens the call for Ubuntu to leave the CD image and switch over to a DVD image as soon as possible. While it might be possible for a lot of people to install new applications; in many places where Ubuntu is trying to get a foot hold, proper internet connections are not available to install all the applications needed. Besides, the default applications are what almost all the new users will use.

Read more here.

Video Editor PiTiVi And Computer Janitor Dropped From Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”

At the Ubuntu Developer Summit – Oneiric at Budapest, the Ubuntu developers have decided to drop two applications from the default installation – PiTiVi and Computer Janitor.


PiTiVi is a video editor that was first made a default application in Ubuntu 10.04 “Lucid Lynx”.  Although  PiTiVi had a lot of potential when it was first included, the Ubuntu developers at UDS-O have decided to drop it from the next realease – Ubuntu 11.10 – because it is “poorly maintained”. PiTiVi is a decent video editor but it also has a problem of crashes and is not considered ready for normal users. Another thing that went against PiTiVi is that video editing is not something that a lot of people does.

PiTiVi will still be available in the main Ubuntu repository, though. If you want it, you can install it with:

$ sudo apt-get install pitivi

Computer Janitor

Computer Janitor, as the name implies, is an application for cleaning up the system. It cannot be exactly called a user friendly application – it has a bad user interface and could be  dangerous  for new users. Packages inadvertently removed using Computer Janitor by a new user could break the system. Because of this it has been decided that Computer Janitor will also be removed from Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”.

Like PiTiVi, Computer Janitor will still be available in the main repository for anyone who want it. It can be installed with the command:

$ sudo apt-get install computer-janitor  computer-janitor-gtk

You can get more details of the discussion from the meeting notes.