Category Archives: Open Source Software

Ubuntu 10.10 Codename Announced

Mark Shuttleworth has announced the codename of the Ubuntu release after Lucid Lynx today. In a post in his blog, Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu 10.10 will be called “Maverick Meerkat“.

This is what Shuttleworth wrote regarding the reason for choosing Meerkat:

Meerkats are, of course, light, fast and social everything we want in a Perfect 10. Meerkats are family-oriented, and we aspire to having Ubuntu being the safe and efficient solution for all the family netbooks. They are also clever meerkats teach one another new skills. And that’s what makes this such a great community.

According to the blog post, Ubuntu 10.10 is going to continue with the push for faster boot time and is also going to focus on the social networking features they are introding in Lucid Lynx. Shuttleworth also mentioned that Ubuntu 10.10 is going to be more netbook friendly.

If you do not know what a meerkat is, here is a description from Wikipedia:

The meerkat or suricate Suricata suricatta, a small mammal, is a member of the mongoose family. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana and in South Africa. A group of meerkats is called a “mob”, “gang” or “clan”. A meerkat clan often contains about 20 meerkats, but some superfamilies have 50 or more members. Meerkats have an average life span of 12-14 years.

KDE Software Compilation – Customized Editions and Kim Kardashian

Today we have two big news related to the KDE Software Compilation:

  • KDE SC is coming in three  customized  versions.
  • American socialite Kim Kardashian is going to officially promote KDE SC.

The KDE Team has decided to come out with three  customized  versions of KDE Software Compilation to satisfy the diverse users that KDE SC now has. This is the official statement:

KDE has enjoyed great success over the years and today marks another important step in the evolution of our growing community. Many years ago when KDE was just beginning we had a small user base and similar expectations of how the software should work. But with growth and success also comes new users and new expectations. As an effort to meet the growing demands of our user community KDE has identified 3 key areas in which we would like to better cater to users’ needs. In order to achieve this it has been determined that there will be, going forward, 3 separate releases of each Software Compilation tailored to these areas.

Here are the three editions of KDE SC that is going to be available:

Ultimate Freedom Edition: This edition is for those who prefer full customization in everything. This edition will come with a double, triple and quadruple tabbars to make all the settings accessible quickly. If you want to play around with your computer this is the edition for you.

Dwarfed Freedom Edition: This edition is for those who love open-source softwares but cannot handle all the decisions makings that setting up an open-source software requires. This edition will come with all the normal softwares that KDE SC usually comes with.

Basic Freedom Edition: This edition is for those who have just migrated to KDE SC and open-source. This edition will provide a rock solid stability without any customization. To make sure it is as simple as possible, it will be closed-source and root level functionalities are disabled.

Another big news is that American socialite Kim Kardashian has officially been  chosen  as the official promoter of the KDE Software Compilation.

This is what KDE chief Matthias Ettrich told a press conference in Hamburg:

It’s not often that we come across such a perfect fit. Where would you find a prominent person whose name and surname both begin with K? She’s the perfect choice to promote KDE. She will give us exposure like nobody else can.

As our web page says, we have a strong focus on finding innovative solutions to old and new problems and creating a vibrant atmosphere open for experimentation,” Ettrich said. “What could be more innovative than getting this big K to promote KDE?

Apparently this move by KDE SC has made the people at GNOME worried and are also trying to get a celebrity to promote GNOME as well.

Happy April Fools Day Everyone! :)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5 Released; Beta Version of RHEL 6 Coming Soon

RedHat has recently upgraded its Linux server product to RHEL 5.5 with many new features and performance improvements. The latest OS from RedHat has improved  Windows Interportability and  Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM)  Virtualization which allows running unsupported hardware through an emulator. It also includes support for newer hardware of Intel and AMD.

Tim Burke, vice president of platform engineering at Red Hat, reported to InternetNews.com that,

We overlap on our releases as it takes many years to produce the new version – RHEL 6 – which is currently in development, Within the coming month we’ll have our beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.

The hardware is of nominal value until you’ve got the software to enable it and that’s what really shines in RHEL 5.5. We’ve done a huge number of scalability enhancements for both bare metal and virtualization environments.

RedHat will also announce the availability of RHEL 6 in June. This will be the next major version after the release of RHEL 5 in 2007.

One major improvement in RHEL 5.5 is the support for new processor families from Intel (Westmere) and AMD (Opteron). One major feature improvement is the Runtime Allocation which allows processes to scale their memory requirements at runtime. Interportability with Windows 7 has also been improved through improvements in Samba.

Get a 30 days trial version of RHEL 5.5 through the RedHat Network.
(Via: Serverwatch)

Microsoft Interested In Buying Canonical

According to a leaked company memo, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is reportedly interested in buying Canonical, the company behind the popular Linux Distro Ubuntu.

Canonical is responsible for bringing bringing Linux to the masses with its distro Ubuntu, whose main focus is on improved usability and stability. Since its introduction in 2004, Ubuntu has gone on to become the most popular Linux distro and has been increasing its user-base at the expense of Micosoft’s Windows Operating System.

According to a leaked memo, Microsoft considers Linux as the main competitor to its flag-ship product, Windows, and is concerned by the number of people who are turning away from Windows to Linux. Microsoft thinks that this is because of Ubuntu and wants to end it by acquiring Canonical. Here is the screenshot of the memo that we recieved:

Neither Microsoft nor Canonical has not made any official statement regarding this yet. But one thing that is for sure is that this is the Open-Source community’s worst nightmare and they will be furious.

Happy April Fools Day Folks!

Linux Mint 8 Helena Announces the Release of Xfce Version

Linux Mint developers are proud to announce the release of the Xfce version of Linux Mint 8. This latest release features the lightweight Xfce desktop environment and has most of the nautilus features in built.
mint-helena
Based largely on Xubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, the Latest Release from Mint team has been built upon Xubuntu. This ensures it has all the features present in Xubuntu and maybe more.

  • The Software Manager has been redesigned. This new software manager allows for displaying more content. Moreover, the package cache is updates automatically and the package size and installation status is also shown in this new Software Manager.
  • The earlier Upload application mintUpload  has been divided into a File Uploader and an Upload Manager. The upload manager allows different transfer protocols like FTP, SFTP etc.
  • Firefox has the stylish add-on inbuilt.
  • The Mint tools branding has been removed to make this tool available and usable across other distros.
  • Mint is using its own repository for Community Edition packages.

You can check the Linux Mint 8 Helena Xfce release notes for a complete changelog.

Linux Mint 8 Helena Xfce supports both torrent and http download.  The download link can be found on this official announcement page.

New Kubuntu Logo Design Revealed, “K” still missing

Yesterday when we reported about the new plymouth theme for Kubuntu, we mentioned that the Kubuntu logo is still being developed and that the logo used in the plymouth theme will be replaced by the new theme once it is finished.

In the Kubuntu meeting yesterday night, the Kubuntu Council has approved the design for the new Kubuntu logo. The logo clearly follows the design of the new Ubuntu logo and has the same font. Here is the new Kubuntu logo:

As you can see very clearly, the logo is unfinished. This is because the new font that came with the new Ubuntu branding is still not complete and is still missing many letters including “K” yet.

Meanwhile another Kubuntu member, David Wonderly, has touched-up the official design and added the Kubuntu-Blue color and some glow-effect to come up with a wonderful design.

The new Kubuntu logo is expected to be shipped with the second beta which is scheduled to be released on 8th April.

What do you think about the new design? Do you like it? Let us know through the comment.

Photoshop’s Content Aware Fill Rant Finally Matches GIMP’s Age Old Feature

On one hand, when the whole Internet is going crazy about the new feature of  “Content Aware Fill” in the latest Photoshop available with Adobe CS5, Gimp, which has had this feature, is remaining quiet.

The latest feature in Photoshop was demoed by Photoshop product manager Bryan O’Neil Hughes. You can see the  Content Aware Fill preview video on Youtube. Basically, with this new feature, we can remove an object from an image safely. Photoshop will automatically create a background with a suitable fill.

Apart from that Photoshop features many new selection technologies and texture generation algorithms. According to the countdown on the homepage, the release is due 19 days from now.

Resynthesizer in Gimp has had this feature from a long time. Add the Gimp resynthesizer to your Gimp with the command:

sudo apt-get install gimp-resynthesizer

Joey at OMG!Ubuntu has posted images of how well this feature works in Gimp. The object removed here is a tree which is definitely harder to remove than regular shapes.

(Via: OMG!Ubuntu)

Jolicloud Robby Pre-Final Released

The Jolicloud team has released the pre-final version of Jolicloud Robby which contain a number of updates including support for HTML5 through Chrome. Jolicloud Robby also has a new network manager and a new desktop mode.

jolicloud1[1]

You can install Jolicloud Robby either through a windows installer or by using the ISO file provided for downloads. With this release Jolicloud has officially exited the beta stage and a final version of Jolicloud Robby will be released shortly.

There was no clear indication on the blog post on whether current Jolicloud users will have to download the new version. Also, the new version is not yet available as an update for users. We have asked for confirmation with regards to this, and will update the post once we have a confirmation on it.

Download Jolicloud Robby Pre-Final

Kubuntu 10.04 and Lubuntu 10.04 Gets New Plymouth Theme

When Canonical’s “Self-Appointed Benevolent  Dictator for Life”, Mark Shuttleworth, announced the new branding of Ubuntu, many asked him if there is going to be new  branding  for other Ubuntu-derivatives like Kubuntu. Shuttleworth replied that there will be new brandings and that the designers at Canonical are working on that.

Now, a part of the new branding for Kubuntu 10.04 and Lubuntu 10.04 has  emerged  with the release of the new plymouth themes for both of them. Sadly, the new theme has not come in  Xubuntu 10.04 yet.

The new plymouth themes in both Kubuntu and Lubuntu are identical in design to that of Ubuntu. The only difference is the logo and the color.

Here are the new plymouth themes for Kubuntu and Lubuntu:

Kubuntu 10.04 Plymouth Theme
Lubuntu 10.04 Plymouth Theme

The Kubuntu plymouth theme is not final. As part of the new branding, new logos are being designed for Kubuntu. When the new logos are available, the logo that is used in the plymouth theme right now will be replaced by the new logo.

The some decisions of the Canonical design team regarding the Ubuntu branding did not go down very well with certain sections of the Ubuntu community. When the news of the new Kubuntu branding emerged, certain  sections of the community has already started raising concerns if the design team will make those same decisions for Kubuntu as well.

Ubuntu to Change to Base-10 File Size Unit

Ubuntu is making a change in the way the OS reads the file size in the future release of the distro, that is in Ubuntu 10.10. From Ubuntu 10.10, the base-2 system that is currently in use is going to be replaced by base-10 system.

Right now in Ubuntu, 1 KB is represented as 1024 B. This system is what is called the base-2 system but violates the IEC naming standard. The base-2 system is however, not used by various hardware manufacturers (you might have noticed that when you plug in your 500 GB external hard disk, it is shown as 466 GB) and some applications. So, the SI naming system (base-10 units) will appear in Unbuntu 10.10 to represent the network bandwidths, disk sizes and so on.

The base-10 system was introduced in one of the Lucid daily builds. But since the Lucid release is only a few weeks away, other applications which rely on the base-2 system cannot be changed in time. As a result, base-2 system will continue to be used in Lucid and the base-10 system will be introduced in the next version after Lucid, i.e. Ubuntu 10.10.

From Ubuntu 10.10, base-10 unit based on SI naming system will be used in  network bandwidth, disk sizes etc. However for RAM size, base-2 units will still be used. However, the base-2 units will use the IEC naming system.

Here is a what the IEC and SI standards are like:

  • IEC standard for base-2 units:
    • 1 KiB = 1,024 bytes (Note: big k)
    • 1 MiB = 1,024 KiB = 1,048,576 bytes
    • 1 GiB = 1,024 MiB = 1,048,576 KiB = 1,073,741,824 bytes
    • 1 TiB = 1,024 GiB = 1,048,576 MiB = 1,073,741,824 KiB = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes
  • SI standard for base-10 units:
    • 1 kB = 1,000 bytes (Note: small k)
    • 1 MB = 1,000 kB = 1,000,000 bytes
    • 1 GB = 1,000 MB = 1,000,000 kB = 1,000,000,000 bytes
    • 1 TB = 1,000 GB = 1,000,000 MB = 1,000,000,000 kB = 1,000,000,000,000 bytes

[via neowin.net]

OpenSolaris 2010.03: Are we There Yet?

Oracle had recently assured OpenSolaris fans that it will keep the OpenSolaris project alive. However, it is not quite living up to this announcement.

opensolaris-logo

The announcement which was made on should have ensured the availability of OpenSolaris to the public but has failed to do so. The statement of the announcement was,

Oracle will continue to make OpenSolaris available as open source, and Oracle will continue to actively support and participate in the community.

OpenSolaris 2010.02 was scheduled to release in February this year but was already pushed to March once. Now, we are nearing the end of March and OpenSolaris 2010.03, scheduled to be released in early March is still not there. Neither has Oracle bothered to release an official statement on this continuous delay, nor has it communicated to the OpenSolaris community.

OpenSolaris has already survived rumors of death at Oracle once. Back then, Oracle has done its bid to come clean in this matter and ensuring a future for this Unix fork. Though, this negligence will cost Oracle the trust of an active group of users and developers. It is time Oracle releases a statement and at least ensures the arrival of a possible OpenSolaris 2010.04.
(Via: Phoronix)

Histwi – A Desktop Twitter Account Management App for Linux

The rapid explosion in the  popularity  of Twitter has resulted in a plethora of desktop Twitter clients being available. However, there is one client, Histwi, which claims to be different from the rest. Instead of being a Twitter client, Histwi is called a Twitter account management client. How different is it actually from a normal Twitter client? We will come to that later. But first the installation.

Installation

If you are using Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, it is quite easy to install Histwi. Here is what you need to do to install Histwi in Karmic Koala:

  • Open the terminal.
  • Add the PPA with the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nikolay-blohin/histwi

  • Update your software list with the command:

sudo apt-get update

  • Finally, install it with the command

sudo apt-get install histwi

If you are using another version of Ubuntu or another distro, you can download the .deb file or the source file from gtk-apps.org.

Review

I use Ubuntu 9.10, so my installation was smooth and problem free. After installation, Histwi can be found in Applications -> Internet in GNOME or KickOff -> Applications -> Internet in KDE SC.

This is what you get just after you start it, before any configuration. As you can see, “Add User”, “Delete User”, “Sync User” are given a very  prominent  place where it is very visible.

Clicking on “Add User” brings up a dialog where you have to enter your Twitter username and password to get started. Upto this point, it is a breeze. There is no need to go to Settings, Configuration menu etc to look add your Twitter account.

After you have entered your Twitter details, Histwi downloads your Tweets. This is where it gets irritating. It took a good 20-25 minutes to download my tweets.  However, I found out that this is where the first difference between a simple Twitter client and a Twitter account manager comes up. Since Histwi is a Twitter account manager, it downloads all the of your tweets unlike Twitter clients which needs to download just the latest few tweets. Another difference is that unlike Twitter clients, it does not download the tweets of those you follow.

After, all your Tweets have been downloaded, you can see your all your tweets ever by clicking on “Tweets”. You can save your tweets as a text file or a html file (although I cannot come up with any reason why anyone would want to do that).

Clicking on “Friends” brings up the list of people you follow and those who follows you. You can follow or unfollow people from this window. In this window, you can also see the number of people whom

  • you follow but doesn’t follow you
  • you follow and in turns follows you
  • you don’t follow but follows you

I sure would love to know who are the people in the various groups as mentioned above.  However, Histwi does not provide any way to see who are the people in the various categories mentioned above.

The search is however, one feature that I am very impressed with. It provides a number of search parameters which results it in being a very powerful search tool. And the best part is that it searches the public timeline, not your followers timeline.

This is the search result, I got when I searched for “tegan and sara” as “All of these words”. Quite impressive I must say.

What I Liked

  • Powerful and versatile search. This can be real useful when you are searching for something specific.
  • Easy and simple interface. The interface is such that even a newbie can jump right in and start using it right away without any peoblem.

What I Disliked

  • The whole concept behind the app. I cannot understand why anyone would want to have an app which he can only only use to manage his Twitter account. Unless it is someone who has a number of Twitter accounts, I do not see any real use for this app.
  • No Tweet and no friends timeline. Right now the app does not have any way to post tweets and we cannot see our friends timeline.

[Review] Clementine 0.2 Music Player in Ubuntu

For many Linux users (me included), Amarok is the music player of choice. However, the Amarok 2 series introduced a radical change in Amarok for the earlier series and has found many haters. As a result many people still refuse to upgrade to Amarok 2 series and are sticking with Amarok 1.4. For those people who want to have Amarok 1.4 along with the new tecnologies that Qt4 brings, there is a new music player called Clementine.

Clementine is basically a port of Amarok 1.4 to Qt4. Techie Buzz author, Sathya Bhat, has already covered Clementine when it was at a very early stage of development. Now, it has matured a bit more. Some of the features have been rewritten to take advantage of new features provided by Qt4. Now with the new release, some new features/improvemnts have been added:

  • Album cover art is now automatically loaded from disk for your library.
  • Cover manager downloads missing covers from Last.fm.
  • Covers for Last.fm radio tracks are shown in notifications.
  • Much better Various Artistsdetection.
  • Shuffle and Repeat modes for the playlist.
  • Playlist columns for album, artist, composer, file type, date
  • Support for Media keys (play, stop, etc.) in Linux.

Clementine provides a very simple and no-frills interface which is extremely easy to use, just like the one you get with Amarok 1.4. In fact, I think it is the exactly the same interface that Amarok 1.4 had. For software at such an early stage of development, it is extremely stable. I have been using it since yesterday and yet it has not crashed or hung or done anything of that sort.

Clementine has a dead simple configuration editor, where even newbies will feel quite at home. Like Amarok 2.3, it uses Knotify to notify when a new song starts which is much better than the OSD that Amarok 1.4 uses.

Feature-wise, Clementine provides most of the features that you would expect from Amarok 1.4. Of course, it does not have stuffs like the applet supports that you get with Amarok 2 series, but users of Amarok 1.4 should be quite satified with the features that it provides. However, it still does not have some very basic things like iPod and MP3 player support. This can however be overlooked for the time being as it is in early development stage.

A feature missing in Clementine that can however cause problems is that there is no option to use an external database instead of the default SQLite. With a large music library SQLite tends to be slow, so with Amarok, I use an external MySQL database to maintain my library. With Clementine I am forced to have SQLite handling the entire library. However, if you have a relatively small collection (from my experience I would say less than 10k songs), this will not be a problem.

If you would like to try it out you can  download the .deb file and install it. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. For Ubuntu, Karmic Koala is the only supported version. Since it is Qt based you will also need some KDE libraries to run it.

[via Digitizor]

Foss Friday: OpenGL 4.0, BBC DRM on Broadcasts, Oracle’s Java Love And More

This week has seen a lot of activity in FOSS. In this post, I will present a weekly roundup of some key events that will determine the shape of things to come.

News

  • Oracle focuses on Java

Oracle has now become the world’s largest Open Source Company in terms of market share and enterprise solution expertise. Whatever Oracle does determines a lot of other sectors and fields. Oracle announced that Java will be focused upon by the company owing to its potential and current giant share in the development sector. Also, the JDK version 7 will sport many nifty features and easy integration with newer technologies. Read more at itWorldCanada.

  • BBC is planning on introducing DRM for its broadcast content

If this plan gets through, Open Source users of UK will not be able to watch the BBC television programs. What a shame it is to see that this feature is not present in the receivers, and this move is not made by BBC itself. BBC is being pressurized by copyright holders to do this and they threaten to withdraw the rights to air their shows. What is even more insane is that they wish to implement this throughout all devices. These devices include the Television, the Recorders, Burners, basically everything that can store the program. Follow up at OMG! UBUNTU.

  • AMD releases support for OpenGL 4.0 on Linux

AMD has released support for OpenGL 4.0, the newest Linux Graphics API. This new driver is a preview and lacks official support but promises that AMD is at least living up to the new OpenGL standards. Phoronix tells us more on this development.

Tips and Features

  • Ubiquity slideshow in Ubuntu installation

Ubuntu Linux has just released its first public beta. This beta gives a peek into the latest features and visual enhancements which will appear in the next version of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. One of them is the Ubiquity slideshow during the installation.

  • Install OpenOffice.org 3.2 on Ubuntu 9.10

OpenOffice.org is the best office suite in Ubuntu Linux. This is an easy guide on how to install OpenOffice.org in Ubuntu Linux 9.10 Karmic Koala.

Will Open Core Steal The Thunder of Open Source

Open Core is the new buzzword in the world of Open Source. According to this new ideology, the product as a whole is not available as Open Source. However, the core of the application, which powers its features and functionalities, is available as open source for others to build upon. This makes the task of application developers tougher but proves profitable for the company itself as well as its sponsors.

The ideology of Open Core might not be new though. The current Eclipse license is already doing something similar by allowing companies to share a common code and selling proprietary applications and features built on top of it. This makes everyone happy.

The dark side though is that this might be misused by some developers who will tend to release incomplete versions of their products as Open Core and wait for others to take it higher.

Open Core is indicative of the fact that the Open Source business model is tending to fall and is looking for other solutions which are better at generating revenue.
[Via: ZDNet ]