Jolicloud Rebranded As Joli OS; Android App Coming Soon

Jolicloud – the cloud based operating system based on Ubuntu – is one of the first cloud based OS I have used. It is quite a nifty operating system and we have written about it a lot here at Techie Buzz.

In a blog post, the team behind Jolicloud has announced that they are giving Jolicloud a new identity. Earlier, the name “Jolicloud”  referred  to the operating system. However when the Jolicloud app was launched in the Chrome Web Store, it turned to to be quite successful there as well. This leaves two Jolicloud in two forms – a stand-alone operating system with cloud focus and a web app using which users can experience many of the features found in the stand-alone OS.

This is what the Jolicloud team wrote in the blog post:

Back in December, we introduced a Web only version of  Jolicloud for the Chrome Web Store. That app has already reached 60,000 installs and is now among the top 40 most popular apps. This success has convinced us that we now have to expand our experience beyond our own OS to be relevant on other platforms.

To remove this ambiguity, the Jolicloud team has announced that they are giving different names to the two. From now on, the stand-alone operating system will known as Joli OS. The web app, which can be accessed both from a normal browser and Joli OS, will be given the name Jolicloud.

The web app, now known as Jolicloud, is currently available only in the Chrome Web Store. However, they are looking to expand beyond that by supporting Firefox 4 and Safari. An experimental HTML5 port for the iPad is also being developed.

Another very exciting announcement is that they are looking to expand Jolicloud beyond traditional computing devices like desktops, laptops, netbooks etc. The Jolicloud team announced that they are planning to bring the Jolicloud experience to mobile devices as well. Their first step towards this is Android. They are working on an Android app for Jolicloud which should be available soon.

What Is New Fedora 15 Alpha?

Yesterday the first alpha of Fedora 15 “Lovelock” was released. This release is a very important release both for Fedora as well as other free software communities for a number of reasons.


The first thing you will notice in Fedora 15 is GNOME-Shell. GNOME Shell is the new user interface that the all new GNOME 3 brings. This is the first time that GNOME 3 has been included in any of the major Linux distributions. From what I have seen, it seems like GNOME 3 does not have a many supporters. So, having GNOME 3 as default in Fedora will help to judge how people react to the complete overhaul.


Like Ubuntu, Fedora has also decided to drop in favor of LibreOffice in this release. As of now LibreOffice is pretty much similar to OpenOffice and users will not feel lost. However, it is good that Fedora is also putting its weight behind the community driven project.


An important change that has been implemented under the hood is that systemd has replaced Upstart in this release. systemd is a system and session manager for Linux. It is faster than Upstart and offers more features. It was originally planned for Fedora 14, but was delayed.


BoxGrinder is another new feature in Fedora 15 alpha that holds a lot of promise. BoxGrinder is an easy to use command line tool to create appliances (virtual images) for various platforms (KVM, Xen, VMware, EC2) from simple plaintext application files.  It is developed by Red Hat and is comparable to Novell’s SUSE Studio.


Fedora 15 alpha includes a new feature called LessFS. LessFS reduces disk usage by storing identical blocks only once and using pointers to point to the location. This is not a very important feature for desktop users but very useful for Enterprise.

These are just some of the main things that have changed in Fedora 15 Alpha. If you want to read more, you can go through the release note.

If you want to test Fedora 15 Alpha, download it from here.

Ubuntu Netbook Edition and Desktop Edition is Simply Ubuntu From Now

Ubuntu, like Windows, came in several flavors. There was a Desktop edition, a Server edition and a Netbook edition. Though, this created no confusion (like in Windows) since these versions were pretty clear in their name. Needless to say, the naming scheme was much more meaningful and far better than that on Windows.


(Image Via: tipsneeded)
Going a step further, Canonical has announced that it will ship just one product named Ubuntu, from now onwards. This version of Ubuntu will be fully featured, and will have support across both netbooks and regular PCs. The Canonical blog writes,

The introduction of the new shell for Ubuntu means that we have a user interface that works equally well whatever the form factor of the PC. And the underlying technology works on a range of architectures including those common in netbook, notebooks, desktops or whatever you choose to run it on. Hence the need for a separate version for netbooks is removed.

With the netbook edition becoming a serious head-turner, this move will allow Ubuntu to focus its operations on one single product and make it better in every respect. Ubuntu sees a huge potential in the netbook market and has a stronghold in the field too.

To be clear, this is the opposite of us withdrawing from the netbook market. In fact looking at the download figures on interest in netbooks is not only thriving but booming.

Another evident change is the removal of the word “Edition” from the release titles. Finally, Ubuntu will be  available in two simple versions now- An Ubuntu Server and the desktop version called Ubuntu. The changes will be in place from the next version, namely Ubuntu 11.04.


Microphone Volume Control Added To Sound Menu Of Ubuntu 11.04

Consistency across different applications is one of the main focus in Ubuntu 11.04. Ubuntu already has a unified sound menu from which users can manage the volume levels of different music players.

However, one thing that has always bugged me was the microphone volume control. Usually when a voice call arrives, say in Skype, users have to manually set the microphone volume level from the Sound Preferences.

This is all set to change in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal though. According to a  Conor Curran of the  Ubuntu Desktop Experience Team, the microphone volume control should be as easily accessible as the speaker volume control. This is very true because more and more people are starting to use VoIP calls.

To address this issue, Ubuntu 11.04 will include a microphone volume slider in the unified sound menu. Using the slider, users can control the volume of their microphones like they do with their speakers. The microphone volume works with popular applications like Skype and Mumble. However, unlike the speaker volume control, it will only be visible when there is a VoIP call.

The looks of the microphone volume slider has not been confirmed yet. However, it will have the same form as shown in the picture on the right – although icons and some details could change.

Do you like this new feature? Do let us know in the comments.

Red Hat Responds to Kernel Source Accusations

The entire open source community frowned upon Red Hat releasing kernel sources with all its patches and fixes upstream. This troubles any business that is around the release and can be termed as simple obfuscation that renders the open source code release useless. Red Hat is using a known method to protect its business.

If you must release the source, release it obfuscated and by the time people will have figured it out and started working on it, you will be out with a new version defeating all their work.

The response at Red Hat says,

The competitive landscape has changed. Our competitors in the Enterprise Linux market have changed their commercial approach from building and competing on their own customized Linux distributions, to one where they directly approach our customers offering to support RHEL.

Frankly, our response is to compete. Essential knowledge that our customers have relied on to support their RHEL environments will increasingly only be available under subscription. The itemization of kernel patches that correlate with articles in our knowledge base is no longer available to our competitors, but rather only to our customers who have recognized the value of RHEL…

Red Hat is  right in its own place. This will prevent Oracle and Novell from providing RHEL support. However, in making this change, Red Hat is ignoring the fact that it just killed a number of developers and small businesses based around the Red Hat kernel releases. Though, CentOS co-founder has claimed that they are not worried by this change. Red Hat has also made a statement specific to CentOS saying,

We haven’t at all restricted CentOS’s ability to grab source code and recompile it and clean-out trademarks and package it. It’s just some of the knowledge of the insides that we’re hiding,

Red Hat has also made some effort in cleaning its name off the case by saying it makes changes in the upstream even before releasing them in RHEL. However, even if we agree that Red Hat aimed this at business competitor Oracle, we cannot overlook the fact that others open source projects took a hit. Even if CentOS developers can make do with this, many others cannot.

The explanation does not do any good and this change is still not welcome. Red Hat should not consider other projects based around itself as casualties of the war with Oracle.

German Foreign Office Falls Back to Using Windows XP

The German Foreign Ministry has undone ten years of hard work and has decided to fall back to using Windows-XP against the current process of the migration to Linux. This comes as a double shock, first the migration away from Linux and second, the choice of the now-obsolete Windows XP.
The migration to Linux started in 2001 and by 2005, the Government has been using,

open source software such as Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice on its desktop systems. Mobile systems use a Debian GNU/Linux based Linux and office PCs are configured with a dual Windows / Linux boot.

Open-source was operational on German-government systems by 2007 and they reported obvious profits in using open-source over closed source. However, recently, the foreign ministry has seen some problems in running open-source and has decided to fall back to Windows XP saying,

the cost of adapting and extending it, for example in writing printer and scanner drivers, and of training, have proved greater than anticipated. The extent to which the potential savings trumpeted in 2007 have proved realisable has, according to the government, been limited though it declines to give any actual figures. Users have, it claims, also complained of missing functionality, a lack of usability and poor interoperability.

The government claims that the cost of migrating to Windows will be far less than the cost of managing an army of programmers to write drivers for all the hardware they have currently. This raises some serious questions on the hardware and the technical expertise that government employees have.

The reason for this migration seems to be twofold. First, the government employees seem exceptionally familiar with the Windows UI, specifically that of Windows XP and have resentments against using anything else. Secondly, the German government possibly uses some legacy hardware that has driver issues with Linux, but has full Windows support.

However, if even after a decade of migration, the government had to turn back, it proves that Linux is not ready for the common-man yet and is still, an operating system for power-users.



Whether for Good or for bad, Red Hat Modifies Kernel Source Release System, Poisons the Ecosystem

Red Hat has become a perfect model of an open-source based business and has shown the world how to make money with open-source. Red Hat is the first billion-dollar open-source company and has a lot to boast. With some serious kernel development going on at Red Hat, many other small-time companies have based their business around the kernel patches and updates released by Red Hat.

Until now, the Red Hat kernel source was shipped upstream and extra patches were downloaded and applied at build time. However, Red Hat is keen on shedding off some leaches now, the biggest one being Oracle. Oracle has been feeding off Red Hat’s kernel development until now, and releases a flavor of Linux that goes by the name of Unbreakable Linux. This Unbreakable Linux is a repackage of the kernel released by Red Hat.

Ironically, Unbreakable Linux has every chance of breaking now because Red Hat is shipping its Linux kernel codes differently. In this new system, the kernel is patched already, and as no information is available on which patches these are. Thus, any further modification attempt has chances of breaking the kernel. There you go Unbreakable Linux, broken in every sense of it. The changes made by Red Hat do not violate any terms of the GPLv2 license, and that is what matters for red Hat.

This is one of those management moves that make future statistics look good. Red Hat should undo this change and stop killing the basis of its prospering business, because the only benefit this change brings to Red Hat, is a lot of bad name in the world of open-source.

Banshee To Disable Amazon Store In Ubuntu 11.04

As you are probably aware, Rhythmbox has been dropped as default for Ubuntu 11.04. Instead Banshee will be the default media player in Ubuntu 11.04. Many of the technical difficulties of including Banshee as default has been resolved. In fact, it has already landed as default in the second Alpha which was released last week.

Now a different sort of problem is brewing – one that has to do with money. You see, Banshee has an integrated music store powered by Amazon. Whenever someone buys music using the Amazon MP3 Store integrated in Banshee, the Banshee project gets some revenue from Amazon. However, the Banshee team does not keep any of the revenue. All the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store is donated to the GNOME Foundation.

Canonical has a problem with this because it conflicts with their Ubuntu One Music Store. Powered by 7Digital, the Ubuntu One Music Store was introduced in Ubuntu 10.04 and it has been the default music store in Rhythmbox since then. Unlike the music store in Banshee, Canonical takes the revenue that comes the Ubuntu One Music Store.

The Ubuntu One Music Store is a project in which Canonical has put in a lot of hard work. They obviously do not want the new music player that ships with Ubuntu 11.04 to use some other music store. So, they have asked the Banshee developers to either give 75% of the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store to Canonical or activate the Ubuntu One Music Store by default instead of the Amazon store.

Instead of paying Canonical the 75%, the Banshee team has decided to have the Ubuntu One Music Store activated by default. The Amazon MP3 Store will still be available – but users have to enable it manually – and the revenue from it will will still go to the GNOME Foundation.

This is the statement that the Banshee Maintainer Team issued:

As maintainers of the Banshee project, we have opted unanimously to decline Canonical’s revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent. The GNOME Foundation’s Board of Directors supports this decision.

Do you think what Canonical did was right? And did Banshee did the right thing by choosing to enable the Ubuntu One Music Store by default?

[image credit]

Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS Released

Although most of the actions are taking place in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal, Ubuntu 10.04 is still a very important release. Being an Long Term Support (LTS) release, it is widely used by those who prefer stability to new features and on servers where stability is very critical.

Canonical is  committed  to supporting Ubuntu 10.04 till April 2013 on desktops and April 2015 on servers. So, in continuation of the support, they have made available a new maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04. The new release – Ubuntu 10.04.2 – is the second maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04.

Since this is a maintenance release, it does not come with any new features. However, it does include a number of security updates and bug fixes which affected the release earlier. One of the most critical bug fixed in this  maintenance  release  is are the installation bugs. The bug in the installation process which caused performance regression on ext4  file-systems  has been fixed in this maintenance release.

This is what Kate Stewart, Ubuntu Release Manager, wrote in the mailing list:

Numerous updates have been integrated, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Along with Ubuntu, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 has also been released. Ubuntu 10.04.2, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 are available for download for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Server

Download Kubuntu 10.04

Download Xubuntu 10.04

If you are already using Ubuntu 10.04, you do not need to download the ISO again. Instead, you can simply update your system as usual.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

You can view the change log of Ubuntu 10.04.2 here. The next maintenance  release of Ubuntu 10.04 is scheduled for July 2011.

PyShare Lets You Easily Share Files Using TwitPic, RapidShare and ImageShack

PyShare is a application for Linux which makes sharing pictures and other files very simple. The current version (0.6.1) of the application supports uploading images to TwitPic and ImageShack and non-image files to RapidShare. After uploading the files, users can copy the URLs to share it with others, directly from the application.


After installation, the application acts as a Nautilus extension and users can right click on the pictures/files and upload it from within Nautilus. The Nautilus menu for PyShare consist of the following:

  • PyShare_GTK – Selecting this will open the PyShare window. From the PyShare window, users can configure PyShare, look at the history etc. Users can also drop files on the PyShare window to upload them as well. Changing the PyShare configuration from this window never worked for me though.
  • sendDesktopScreenshot – The name is fairly self explanatory. On selecting this, PyShare will take a screenshot and upload it to either TwitPic or ImageShack.
  • sendFiles – This will upload the selected files to the appropriate service. If the selected files are images, they will be uploaded to TwitPic or ImageShack. However, non-image files will be uploaded to RapidShare.
  • sendWindowScreenshot – This is somewhat like sendDesktopScreenshot. Instead of uploading screenshot of the desktop, this will only upload screenshot of the selected window.

After using the application for almost a day, I feel that it still has a lot of rough edges. I certainly find the sendFiles function useful. However, for taking and uploading screenshots, I would prefer Shutter to PyShare. Shutter has more features and is more polished. I would certainly welcome support for Flickr and imgur as well.


If you want to install PyShare download it from, extract it and run the file Then install python-pycurl and scrot.

If you prefer to do it from the command like interface, open the Terminal and execute the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get install python-pycurl scrot
$ wget
$ tar -xjvf 100952-PyShare0.6.1.tar.bz2
$ cd PyShare0.6.1
$ ./

Now restart Nautilus and you should see PyShare on the right-click menu.