Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal” Release Schedule

Mark Shuttleworth announced the codename of Ubuntu 11.04 a couple of days back. It is “Natty Narwhal” in case you missed it.

Even Ubuntu 10.10 “Maverick Meerkat” has not been released yet, but the release schedule of Natty Narwhal is already out. According to it, Ubuntu 11.04 is scheduled for release on 28th April 2011.

This time around there is a bit of a change in the pre-final releases. With Ubuntu 11.04, there will be five alpha releases instead of the three during the Maverick development cycle. The number of beta and RC remains same at one each.

Anyway, here is the release schedule:

Alpha 14th Novembe 2010
Alpha 22nd December 2010
Alpha 36th January 2011
Alpha 43rd February 2011
Alpha 53rd March 2011
Beta31st March 2011
Release Candidate21st April 2011
Final Release28th April 2011

You can see the detailed schedule at the Ubuntu Wiki.

Linux Runs In Sony PS3 Again – After Jailbreaking

A few months back, Sony decided to clamp down on people using the Play Station 3 to run other operating systems – Linux for example. It angered a lot of people and some even filed a lawsuit. But Sony stuck with their decision to keep Linux out of the PS3.

Well, it seems like some hacker have jailbroken the Sony Play Station 3 and have managed to get Linux running on it again. To do this they have come up with a usb dongle called PS Jailbreak. Apparently it bypasses the PS3 security mechanism and allows users to boot Linux in the gaming console. It also disables the forced updates and works in all regions.

Running Linux does not seem to be the only trick up the PS Jailbreak’s sleeve. It is also said to be able to back-up games to the internal hard drive or an external hard drive. This eliminates the need for expensive Blue-ray burners and disks.

To do this, however, you will need to buy the PS Jailbreak. They are currently taking pre-orders and the price is around $150 for a unit. (We are not going to post the link to buy it here because some are claiming it is a hoax and we cannot confirm if it is a hoax or real.)

Some people are calling it a fake. Here is a video. You decide for yourself.

Go to PSX-Scene for more details.


Facebook Caught Plagiarizing Open Source Code in the Official iPhone App

One of the many nifty features present in the official Facebook app for iPhone is the “Pull to Refresh” functionality, which was pioneered by Tweetie. This UI (user interface) element is derived from the open source TTTableHeaderDragRefreshView class created by Enormogo. Unfortunately, it appears that Facebook was using third party open source code without proper attribution.

Obviously, folks at Enormogo weren’t pleased when they discovered the similarities between their code and Facebook’s implementation. Shaun from Enormogo wrote in a blog post, “To find out that they took our code, re-released it as their own, and take credit for it though? That’s not cool Facebook. Not cool at all”.

Before the daggers come out, it’s worth noting that this was most probably an honest mistake by Facebook. Here is the statement issued by David Recordon, the head of open source programs at Facebook:

Back in February a developer outside of Facebook sent a GitHub pull request which included this pull to refresh functionality. At the time we believed that the developer wrote the code themselves and thus didn’t realize that it actually came from Shaun’s open source library EGOTableViewPullRefresh. I’m sorry that we messed this one up. Three20 has over a dozen different contributors (http://github.com/facebook/three20/blob/master/AUTHORS) and we try really hard to give credit where it is due.

The required attribution has already been added by Facebook and will be committed to the GitHub soon.

0 A.D. Alpha Available In Ubuntu PPA

0 A.D. is an free open-source real time strategy game which runs natively on Linux. It is inspired by the Age Of Empires series. Unlike most of the other Linux games, which honestly feel half-baked, 0 A.D. has a distinctive commercial-quality.

Wildfire Games, which is behind the 0 A.D. project, has just released the first alpha of 0 A.D. And they have made it super easy for Ubuntu users to install it by setting up a PPA.

But before we get to how to install it, here is a video of the game:

(In case you cannot see the embedded video here is the link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2QgByWOhR8)

So, if you want to try out this game, open the terminal and execute the following commands:

Note: It is currently available only for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wfg/0ad
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install 0ad

Now wait for the download and the installation to finish. After that it will be found under Applications > Games. This is only an alpha release, so expect some rough edges.

If you have installed it, let us know what you think of the game in the comments.

Highly Critical Vulnerability In The Linux Kernel Fixed

Today a very dangerous bug privilege escalation bug in the Linux kernel has been fixed. The bug allows an underprivileged process to run with the root privilege from any application with a GUI.

It affected the x86_32 and x86_64 platforms and was reported to the X.org security team, who then referred it to the team handling the kernel.

The vulnerability was discovered by Rafal Wojtczuk of Invisible Things Lab. This is how Joanna Rutkowska, the founder of Invisible Things Lab, describes it:

The attack allows a (unpriviliged) user process that has access to the X server (so, any GUI application) to unconditionally escalate to root (but again, it doesn’t take advantage of any bug in the X server!). In other words: any GUI application (think e.g. sandboxed PDF viewer), if compromised (e.g. via malicious PDF document) can bypass all the Linux fancy security mechanisms, and escalate to root, and compromise the whole system. The attack allows even to escape from the SELinux’s “sandbox -X” jail.

All the Linux kernel since 2.6 are vulnerable according to Rutkowska. Linux kernel 2.6.0 was introduced in December 2003. So, this means that the vulnerability has been around for almost seven years.

Linus Torvalds has already released a patch to fix this and it has been pushed upstream recently into stable kernel.

[via: Softpedia]

uTorrent promises to appear on Linux Soon

Transmission, QBittorent and Deluge are the only working torrent clients for Linux with a proper GUI. They have been developed extremely slowly and have failed to become a hot choice for users. Most people end up using Transmission because there is not much of a choice.

utorrentHowever, this is about to change soon. uTorrent developers have announced on their Windows forum that they will release a version for Linux soon that will provide many extra features over Transmission.

However, many users still prefer Transmission and are skeptic about uTorrent as clearly seen in the comments received on this post at  OMG!UBUNTU. However, some uTorrent enthusiasts are already using it on Wine.

Now, uTorrent is the cleanest client on Windows. It has no adware or crapware with it and comes in a small size amounting in a few hundred KBs. Transmission on Linux is the highly acclaimed and lightweight client. They both are close competitors and the developers at uTorrent are well aware of this. Thus, it is expected of them to create an impressive client. No release date has been mentioned yet in any of the discussions.


Ubuntu 10.10 Will Support Multi-Touch

For those planning to use Ubuntu 10.10 on touch screen devices, there is excellent news – Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat will support multi-touch.

Earlier Mark Shuttleworth said that they are not developing Ubuntu for tablet devices. They are not developing a tablet specific version, but Canonical has officially announced that they are adding multi-touch and gesture support in Ubuntu Netbook Edition.

Canonical is pleased to announce the release of uTouch 1.0, Ubuntu’s multi-touch and gesture stack. With Ubuntu 10.10 (the Maverick Meerkat), users and developers will have an end-to-end touch-screen framework — from the kernel all the way through to applications.

The Canonical UTouch Framework is what will be supporting muti-touch and gestures in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. It consists of several components:

  • Gesture Engine Interface and Support
  • Gesture Recognition And Instantiation Library
  • Gesture Test

You can see more technical details at the mailing list.

The UTouch framework will also use a four-finger language, which again is developed by Canonical. With this four-finger gesture language, users can go beyond simple gestures and chain together different gestures to make more sophisticated commands. You can read more about this gesture language here.

The UTouch Framework will be included by default in the Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. In UNE, windows management support gestures. You can minimize, maximize etc. using gestures. Desktop users will need to install Unity to see this in action.

A PPA has been setup for testing. It is not recommended that you install these unless you can bear with some problems it may cause. However, if you want to test, it execute the following (Maverick only) :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:utouch-team/utouch
sudo apt-get update

[sources: Canonical Blog, Mark Shuttleworth]

Upgrade To KDE SC 4.5 In OpenSUSE

KDE Software Compilation 4.5 was released a few days ago (actually 6 days to be exact). It is available for upgrade in OpenSUSE (11.1, 11.2 and 11.3).

But before we get to how to upgrade, a few of the improvements/new features in KDE SC 4.5:

  • Blur Effect – KDE SC now has a new blur effect which looks awesome.
  • WebKit – Now you can use WebKit in Konqueror, the default KDE browser. WebKit makes the browser much faster.
  • Simplified System Settings – The tabs on the System Settings have been removed. The interface looks more simplified now.
  • Monochrome Icons – The system tray now has monochrome icons. (Not all applications currently supports monochrome icons yet). It makes the system tray more visually appealing and gives more clarity.
  • Windows Tiling – KWin now supports windows tiling.
  • Faster and More Responsive – I have been using KDE SC 4.5 ever since the first beta and it is certainly faster and more responsive than the previous releases.

You can see the official announcement for more informations.

Warning – This is an unsupported upgrade. So problems could occur.

Now, to upgrade to KDE SC 4.5 in OpenSUSE, you need to be using atleast OpenSUSE 11.1, 11.2 or 11.3. Now, open the Konsole (ALT+F2 and type konsole) and execute the following commands:

(Change 11.3 to 11.2 or 11.1 wherever applicable.)

sudo zypper ar-f http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Distro:/Factory/openSUSE_11.3 KDF
sudo zypper dup-from KDF

If you use the KDE extra repository, execute the following commands:

zypper rr http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Extra/openSUSE_11.3/
zypper ar -f http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/KDE:/Extra/openSUSE_11.3_KDE_Distro_Factory/ KDF-extra
zypper dup --from KDF-extra

BrowserLinux Now Offers Chrome Browser

chrome-ico In December of last year, we told you about BrowserLinux, a very small operating system that has one basic purpose, providing a web browser. The older versions contained only Firefox, but now you can get versions which use Firefox or Google Chrome. That’s good news for those of us who prefer Google’s web browser. At this point you might be wondering why you’d want to use BrowserLinux. Below are a few details that might convince you to give it a try.


Size matters

How would you like to run an entire operating system from a 128mb flash card or USB thumb drive? With BrowserLinux, it’s quite easy to do. It’s offered as a Live CD (ISO file) download and is less that 80mb in size. You could burn the ISO file to a CD, but SD cards and USB sticks are so easy to carry around. Here’s an easy way to create a bootable flash or USB drive.

Your PC is unchanged

Since BrowserLinux was designed to run only as a Live CD (or bootable flash/USB), you don’t have to worry that your PC will get messed up. No matter what OS is already installed, BrowserLinux won’t make any changes to it.

Infection Free

The bad guys don’t seem to care about Linux. While Windows operating systems get infected by the thousands every day, it’s very unlikely you’ll find a website or email attachment that can infect your BrowserLinux system.  If something weird happens, you can simply shut down without saving by killing the power. Any problems you had during your surfing won’t be there the next time you reboot. That makes it almost bullet-proof and an ideal system to take with you on the road.

Public Library or Internet Cafe

This might also be a good OS for Public Libraries or Internet Cafes to use. All they’d have to do it take out the hard drive, slip in a Live CD and set the BIOS to boot from CD. No changes could ever be made to the PCs that are set up that way. With so many cool web applications and online office suites available, who needs the hassle of installing, constantly updating, and paying for buggy software like MS Office. Finally, BrowserLinux will run fine on older PCs. That makes a computer running from this Live CD, the ultimate low cost, maintenance free system.


The developer of BrowserLinux says:

If you want an operating system for editing movies, writing letters or printing spreadsheets: don’t use Browserlinux. Browserlinux is for browsing the web.

The most difficult task to getting this OS on the web is connecting to a Wifi network. However, even that’s no big deal. All you have to do is hit the Menu button, choose Network, then choose Wireless. It will scan the area for Wifi hotspots you can connect to.



Highly Recommended

If you have your own tips on using Linux or it’s problems, be sure to comment below or email me.

The New Ubuntu Installer Is Now Live

About a month back, we wrote that the installer in Ubuntu 10.10 is getting a makeover. Well the new Ubiquity has arrived in the daily build of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat.

Apart from the new looks, there are also a lot of new features in the new Ubiquity (that is the name of the installer). It allows users to install the proprietary drivers and the restricted extras during installation. This is sure to make many new users’ life a lot simpler. It also has a Wireless Network Setup and a simplified User Account setup before the installation begins.

There are still bugs though – apparently, it cannot install Ubuntu yet!

Here are some screenshots (via Softpedia)