Canonical Releases A Component Catalog To Help You Build A Computer Which Just Works With Ubuntu

When we build a PC in which Linux is to be the main OS, we generally have to watch out for hardware that does not work well in Linux. This means searching in Google and going through forums, blog posts etc.

Knowing that this is generally a difficult task for most users, Canonical started the  Ubuntu Certification Program for hardware last year. Originally the program certified only complete machines – that is laptops, desktops and servers – as Ubuntu ready and does not deal with the components that goes into them.

Today, though, Canonical has decided to extend it to the components as well and has released a database of over 1300 components – from processors to keyboards – which will just work with Ubuntu. Canonical compiled this list using the list of Ubuntu certified laptops, desktops and servers, and their experience with working on servers for enterprise.

This is indeed a very useful list for not only Ubuntu users, but also Linux enthusiasts everywhere. This means we now have a centralized database from which we can make sure that our next machine will work well with Ubuntu (or Linux in general).

This is what Victor Palau, Platform Services Manager at Canonical, said

There has not been a comprehensive, up-to-date freely available catalog like this for a long time. By making this open and easily searchable we want to speed the component selection for Ubuntu machines, and allow us and our partner manufacturers to focus on the value-added user experience.

While the list is great from the normal user’s point of view, some proponents of free software may complain that Canonical has not made any distinctions between hardware for which open drivers are available and those for which only proprietary drivers are available. The recent decision from the Debian community to remove the proprietary firmware from the kernel of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” indicates that people still care about this issue.

Personally, I too think that it would have been better to separate the hardware with proprietary drivers from those with open drivers. But Canonical has done a good job with this database and we should not let that spoil the mood.

You can view the components catalog here.

In case you want to see the list of certified machines, you can see the here.

Johannesburg Stock Exchange Following London Stock Exchange And Switching To Linux

Around a year ago, the London Stock Exchange announced their decision to switch their trading platform to one based on Linux. By moving to Linux, they have been able to achieve record speed which is half of that of its main rival stock exchange.

Following in the footsteps of the London Stock Exchange, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has also announced its plan to switch over to a Linux-based system. Right now the Johannesburg Stock Exchange runs the TradeElect platform – the same platform that the London Stock Exchange used. They plan to replace TradeElect, which is based on Microsoft .NET ans SQL Server 2000, to the Linux-based Millennium Exchange developed by MilleniumIT.

The migration is expected to start in the first half of 2012, and like the case with the London Stock Exchange, they are expecting a 400 times increase in the transaction speed.

Leanne Parsons, Johannesburg Stock Exchange Chief Operating Officer, had this to say about the decision to move to Linux:

We are excited about working with MillenniumIT and providing benefits to our market using their technology solutions. In our experience, whenever we take a step forward with our trading technology, trading volumes also follow. If we want to remain a world-class and relevant exchange in a highly competitive industry, we must remain abreast of technological advances.

One of the main reason for the decision to move to Linux is speed. Another reason is the cost. While the operational cost of the new system will remain approximately the same as that with TradeElect, Parson says that with the new platform, they can aggressively increase the trading volume without incurring a corresponding increase in the software cost.

The adoption of this Linux-based system by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange signals that Linux is being increasingly viewed as a platform capable of providing enterprise solutions, not just web-servers. If the system at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange performs as expected maybe a few more stock exchanges will also consider moving to Linux.

You can read the full press release here.

Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” Alpha 2 Released

Today Canonical has released the second alpha of Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narhwal. This released will be followed by another alpha, a beta and a release candidate before the final version is released in April 2011.

Compared to the first alpha, this release marks the addition of most of the new features we will see in the final release. One of the most significant changes in this release has to the inclusion of LibreOffice in place of Another change in the default application is that Banshee music player has replaced Rhythmbox.

People who have been calling for the Unity launcher to have an auto-hide feature will be happy to know that intelli-hide is now enabled by default. What the intelli-hide does is that it hides the launched only when it is obstructing an active window. The Software Center continues to get improved as well. The long-awaited application rating and review system finally makes an appearance in this release.

The much talked about global menu has also been included in this release as App Menu. Users of Mac OS X will already be familiar with this. It is the system where the menu is included in the panel instead of having it separate for different open windows. It was originally planned for inclusion in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, but did not make it. The App Menu is supported in both the Unity UI and the classic GNOME desktop.

If you want to try out these new features, you can download the live CD from

WebUpd8 has also made a video review of these new features.

HAL Killed In openSUSE 11.4 Milestone 6

The openSUSE project announced the release of the sixth milestone of openSUSE 11.4 for testing. This is the last milestone release for openSUSE 11.4. So, the main focus of this release is on bug fixes and QA. This does not however mean that this is not an exciting release.

One of the most exciting changes in this release is the complete removal of HAL. With this, openSUSE is the second major Linux distribution after Ubuntu to have completely removed HAL. Now the functions of HAL will be taken over by udev, udisks and upower. Not only are udev, udisks and upower more modern than HAL, they are also more actively maintained.

Another thing that was originally planned for openSUSE 11.4 was to replace SysV init with systemd. However, they have run into some problems with integrating systemd. So, atleast for openSUSE 11.4, SysV init will not be replaced.

openSUSE 11.4 M6 will also have WebYaST installed by default. WebYaST is a tool which allows users to configure the computer remotely from a web browser. Packages for WebYaST was first made available for openSUSE 11.3.

So, far what we have talked about are mostly changes under the hood. openSUSE 11.4 M6 also has a few visible changes. The final wallpaper, splash-screen and branding for openSUSE 11.4 have been included in this release. The most recent versions of various software like, VirtualBox etc. have also been included in this release.

Regarding the desktop environment, openSUSE 11.4 M6 ships with KDE SC 4.6 RC2. A few days ago, the final release of KDE SC 4.6 was made available. This will make it to openSUSE in the first release candidate which is scheduled for 10th February. The recently released Xfce 4.8 is also available for those who prefer a lighter DE.

This release will be followed by the first release candidate which will be released on 10th February and the final release in March 2011. There will be possible some more release candidates in between. Resets All User Passwords in Wake of a Sniffing Attempt

Attacks on passwords, security and privacy are becoming bolder and stronger. Recently, had warned its users of a possible attack on their passwords with a blog post.


Although, the blog is down now as they are carrying out database maintenance, we can still show you the email via Sathyajit that says,


We recently experienced a directed attack on SourceForge infrastructure
( and so we are
resetting all passwords in the database — just in case. We’re
e-mailing all registered account holders to let you know about this
change to your account.

Our investigation uncovered evidence of password sniffing attempts. We have
no evidence to suggest that your password has been compromised. But, what
we definitely don’t want is to find out in 2 months that passwords were
compromised and we didn’t take action.

So, as a proactive measure we’ve invalidated your account
password. To access the site again, you’ll need to go through the email
recovery process and choose a shiny new password:

If you need help with this, feel free to e-mail us:

[email protected]

We appreciate your patience with us as we work to respond to this attack.
We’ll be working through the weekend to get things back to normal as
quickly as possible.

Watch for updates on the service outages on our blog:

Thank you,

The SourceForge Team

Given the last fiasco at Gawker media and Mozilla, we sure have to wake up and stop using MD5.

As a failsafe method, we should reset our passwords at major websites like Google and other developer networks regularly. This can work well towards keeping you safe. You can check the Sourceforge blog for details once the page is back up.

Install The Ubuntu Tips Applet To Get Useful Ubuntu Tips On Your Desktop

Ubuntu Tips Applet is an application developed by Alexandr Gudulin. The application regularly displays useful Ubuntu tips on your Ubuntu desktop. The tips displayed are fetched using fortunes-ubuntu-server and are displayed using Notify-OSD (the notification you see when you receive new IM, track change in music players etc.). These tips are actually for Ubuntu server, but it can also be a great way for new Ubuntu users to discover new features and tips in Ubuntu.

Ubuntu Tips Applet is available as a .deb file, so installation is very simple. There is no PPA available yet. Follow the steps below to install:

Command line way:

$ wget
$ sudo dpkg -i ubuntu-tips-applet_0.1.2.deb

If, you prefer to install it from the GUI, follow these steps:

1. Download the .deb package by clicking here.

2. Go to the location where you have saved the file and double-click on the downloaded file.

3. If you are in Ubuntu 10.10 and above, the Ubuntu Software Center will open. Otherwise, gdebi will open. In both the cases, you will be asked for the password. Enter the password and the installation will start.

After installing, you can launch the application from Applications > Accessories > Ubuntu Tips Applet.

The application does not auto-start when you start a new session. To make it auto-start, go to System > Startup Applications. In Startup Programs, click on Add and in the dialog box, enter “Ubuntu Tips Applet” (without quote) in the Name field and /usr/share/ubuntu-tips-applet/ in the Command field. Finally click on Add.

After starting the application, you can click on the icon in the System Tray to make it show a tip, disable the auto display, quit the application etc.

By default the application is set to display a new tip every minute. That can be a bit irritating and you can set the time you desire from Preferences.

The Document Foundation Releases LibreOffice 3.3

Four months after leaving, The Document Foundation has finally released the first stable version of LibreOffice. Although this is the first stable release, the release is given a version number 3.3 in continuation of the version number of

Although The Document Foundation was started by less than twenty developers, the number has now grown to more than a hundred. This has allowed them to release LibreOffice ahead of schedule.

LibreOffice includes a number of original features which includes:

  • Ability to import SVG files in Draw and edit them interactively
  • Import filters for MS Works and Lotus Word Pro documents
  • Easy to use dialog box for title pages and page number in Writer
  • New tree view in Navigator Tool for Writer
  • Better import of WordPerfect files

Beside these new features, LibreOffice 3.3 also brings a number of extensions such as PDF importer, Presenter View in Impress, report builder etc. LibreOffice 3.3 also has all of the new features in 3.3.

Caolán McNamara, one of the lead developers of LibreOffice, has this to say about the release

We are excited: this is our very first stable release, and therefore we are eager to get user feedback, which will be integrated as soon as possible into the code, with the first enhancements being released in February. Starting from March, we will be moving to a real time-based, predictable, transparent and public release schedule, in accordance with Engineering Steering Committee’s goals and users’ requests.

LibreOffice already has very strong backings in the open-source community. LibreOffice 3.3 is already  the default office suite in Ubuntu 11.04 and it seems likely that other Linux distributions will follow suite as well.

LibreOffice 3.3 is available for Linux (both .deb and .rpm), Mac OS X and Windows. You can download it from here.

If you  followed our instruction and installed LibreOffice 3.3 RC 4 in Ubuntu, there is no need to download and install the .deb file again. The final release is exactly the same as the fourth release candidate.

How To Install VLC 1.1.6 In Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

The VideoLAN Project has released a new version of its very popular media player – VLC. The new release, VLC 1.1.6, is an incremental update from the previous version and has a few new features.

Although mainly a bug fix update, VLC 1.1.6 has some improvements from the last realease. These improvements in VLC 1.1.6 include:

  • Improvements in KDE and PulseAudio integration
  • Faster WebM/VP8 decoding
  • Support for MPC SV7/SV8 on Windows and MacOS builds
  • Improvements in visualisations and interfaces

Beside these, there are also a few minor improvements such as updated codecs, security updates in demuxer and codecs, better subtitles and an updated language translation.

The VLC available in the main Ubuntu repository has not been updated to this new release yet. However, Ferramosca Roberto has already made the new version available in his PPA. The build is, however, available only for Ubuntu 10.10 at the time of writing this.

So, to install VLC 1.1.6 in Ubuntu 10.10, follow these steps:

1. Open the Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal). If you are using Kubuntu, you will need Konsole. To open the Konsole in Kubuntu, press ALT+F2 to open KRunner and type “konsole“.

2. Now we need to add the PPA. To do this, execute the command given below in the Terminal/Konsole.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ferramroberto/vlc

3. After the PPA has been added, update the software list with:

$ sudo apt-get update

4. Finally install VLC 1.1.6 with the command given below

$ sudo apt-get install vlc mozilla-plugin-vlc

After installation, you will find VLC under Applications > Video & Sound > VLC. In Kubuntu, you can use the KRunner again to launch it.

New website launched for GNOME 3 Desktop

A new website dedicated for the much awaited GNOME 3 desktop was launched today by the GNOME project.


The website, GNOME 3 , with the same name as the Desktop Environment of that version, currently just lists the features that the users will experience once GNOME 3 is officially released. GNOME 3 Overview 1

  • Some enticing features mentioned on the site are :
  • A beautiful , sleek new design for an improved look and feel.
  • Built-in Messaging system to make instant messaging quick and effortless
  • Re-designed System Settings which grants more control to the user
  • An improved file manager
  • Dark Application Themes for when you want to focus on pictures and videos
  • Ability to use Flickr images as Desktop backgrounds

GNOME 3 Overview 2Eventually, the developers plan to make all the GNOME 3 releases , which are scheduled from April 2011, through this website. Till then, they have a Try It page where you should be able to download a Live USB image soon. For the geeks, the Try It page contains a link to instructions for manually building the Gnome 3 Shell.

The FAQ section answers some basic questions that current users of GNOME 2 may have about GNOME 3’s plans , roadmaps, compatibility with older applications, links to get involved, etc.

The mockups, screenshots and the claims by the GNOME developers ,do look promising. We’ll be watching this space to see whether GNOME 3 delivers on it’s promises.

LibreOffice Finally Lands As Default In Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal

After what Oracle has been doing recently, it is no surprise that most of the open-source projects want to distance  themselves  from Oracle. So, when LibreOffice was announced as an alternative to the Oracle controlled Open Office, many Linux distributions offered their support for it. In fact, Mark Shuttleworth even  announced that LibreOffice will be shipped in the place of Open Office in a future Ubuntu release.

Today, Canonical has finally done it by replacing OpenOffice with LibreOffice in the daily build of Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal”. This follows the earlier announcement that Canonical is planning to give LibreOffice a run in Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 2 to see if it can replace OpenOffice in the final release.

The second alpha of Ubuntu 11.04 is to be released 3rd February. LibreOffice will remain as the default office suite throughout the second alpha phase. There is no confirmation that LibreOffice will remain the default office suite in the final release – that decision will be taken later. However, in all likelihood it will remain as the default – unless something very bad happen in between.

The replacement of Open Office with LibreOffice will create a lot of noise, no doubt. But for an Ubuntu user, there will not be that much of a difference. Both LibreOffice and Open Office has almost the same UI right now. And regarding features, at this point most of what LibreOffice has done is import the patches from Go-oo. Ubuntu has always shipped Open Office with the Go-oo patches. So, there also users will not see much difference. However a big difference will be in the speed because LibreOffice uses a larger memory cache than Open Office.

If you cannot wait for Natty and want to try LibreOffice now, here is an easy way to install it easily.