Category Archives: Open Source Software

New Ubuntu Fonts Available For Everyone

The new Ubuntu fonts were actually supposed to be available for public beta on August 8th. However, WebUpd8 reports that it is already available to users who are part of the ~kubuntu-users team in Launchpad – and anyone can join this team. You do not have to be a Kubuntu user to join it.  So, this means that the fonts are available to practically everyone who does not mind going through the few extra steps required to get it.

This is the email to the kubuntu-users mailing list announcing it:

Members of the ~kubuntu-users team on launchpad can now test out the Ubuntu Font which is currently in beta testing. Anyone can join this team.
We are considering setting this as the default screen font in 10.10, opinions welcome but please include a rationale with your opinion, artwork is very easy to criticize but is hard to criticize well.

So, here is what you need to do:

Note: You need to have a Launchpad account to do this.

Or, if you would rather not go through all these, wait for a few days. The fonts will be available for public beta on August 8th, and you can add the PPA through the normal way, without going through all these private PPA stuff.

Geeky Animosity. Is it Tribalism?

A recent interesting article by Mark Shuttleworth on his blog talks about an unheard term: Tribalism. I knew otherwise of Tribalism until now. Mark Shuttleworth defines this new Tribalism as,

Tribalism is when one group of people starts to think people from another group are wrong by default. It’s the great-granddaddy of racism and sexism. And the most dangerous kind of tribalism is completely invisible: it has nothing to do with someone’s birth tribeand everything to do with their affiliations: where they work, which sports team they support, which Linux distribution they love.

According to this, Tribalism arguments; that make people think they belong to a better tribe are as baseless as “the other tribe has not done anything useful” or “my world is more important than his” or “evidence contrary to my belief does not count” and so on.

With this in view, Shuttleworth has pointed out how this is hampering the free software world. Tribalism here, does not necessarily relate to tribes from jungles. It can be ultra-modern urban tribes. We can consider tribes of music fans who hate other bands and likewise. In the free software world, this behavior is seen as fanaticism. Shuttleworth writes about this saying,

Right now, for a number of reasons, there is a fever pitch of tribalism in plain sight in the free software world. It’s sad. It’s not constructive. It’s ultimately going to be embarrassing for the people involved, because the Internet doesn’t forget. It’s certainly not helping us lift free software to the forefront of public expectations of what software can be.

However, in my opinion fanaticism is not exactly the root cause of Tribalism. However, it can lead to Tribalism if two fanatics clash in time.

New GNOME Shell Mockup Looks Good – But Is It Better?

Yesterday it was announced that  GNOME 3.0 is delayed till next year. The extra time has given the Shell Developers some more time to play around with new concepts and they have come up a new mockup. Here are the new mockups:

This new mockup, no doubt, looks a lot better than the current Shell interface. Currently Shell is very clunky and very unusable in my opinion.

However, the new mockup still looks like it will be workflow nightmare. In the second picture, it looks like you have to click on the Windows tab to see the open windows. (Someone correct me If I am wrong.) This step unnecessarily requires two or possibly more clicks for something that can be done with just one right now.

And is it just me or does anyone else notice a strong resemblance to the Jolicloud user interface?

Another thing that I cannot understand is the huge application icons. In devices with small screen, the kind which Jolicloud and Ubuntu Netbook Edition are intended for, large icons can be useful. But GNOME Shell is not intended only for devices with small screen. I think that using this interface on a large monitor will be a real pain.

I tested GNOME Shell way back when it was very new and was not impressed by it then. I tested it again last month and still did not like it. This mockup looks good, no doubt, but it still feels unusable to me and it seems they have not resolved the workflow issue which many have been pointing out since Shell became available.

What do you think? Let us know.

[image credit: WebUpd8]

GNOME 3.0 Delayed Again – This time till March 2011

Bad news for everyone who has been waiting for GNOME 3.0 – its has been pushed back to March 2011. At GUADEC (GNOME Users And Developers European Conference) 2010, the GNOME Release Team have decided that GNOME 3.0 will require another release cycle to mature. Instead of GNOME 3.0, they will release GNOME 2.32 this September.

GNOME 3.0 represents a revolutionary step for GNOME, whose interface has changed very little since 2002. When it was conceived, the release date for GNOME 3.0 was set as April 2010. However, it was pushed back to September 2010 since it could not be completed in time. Today’s announcement means that it is now a good one year behind the original schedule.

This is what the press release says:

GNOME releases every six months to provide a reliable platform for its community and downstream partners. While it might be possible to release GNOME 3.0 in 2010 by slipping the schedule by a month or two, it makes more sense to stick to GNOME’s release schedule and ensure that GNOME 3.0 lives up to the quality that our community expects.

GNOME is driven by its goals to provide a quality free software desktop, and we feel that our users and downstream community are better served by holding the GNOME 3.0 release until March 2011. This gives adequate time not only for feature development, but user feedback and testing.

This is a very sensible decision from the GNOME team to delay it until they feel that it is ready. GNOME is known for its stability. It is the stability that its incremental development brings that makes GNOME so popular among users and commercial distributions alike. With the leap that they are taking with GNOME 3.0, many people have expressed concerns that it might have an effect on the stability and general usability.  Today’s announcement shows that they still give paramount importance to stability.

For everyone who have been waiting eagerly for GNOME 3.0, this announcement is a big blow, no doubt. But at least that we can be sure that GNOME 3.0 will not pull a KDE 4.0.

Khronos Group Releases OpenGL 4.1 with claims of it being better than Direct3D 11

Back in March, when Khronos released OpenGL 4.0, it was a hit and was presumed to be a DirectX 11 killer. I covered the release of OpenGL 4.0 and wrote,

This new version of OpenGL introduces a better support for GPU and an advanced tessalation, which breaks a model into smaller patches or surfaces for better handling and rendering. The OpenGL standard, when adapted to the version 4.0, is presumed to match the qualities of that of DirectX 11, which is the current dominant API for Windows graphics.

opengl

With the release of OpenGL 4.1, Khronos claims that it has surpassed the features of Microsoft’s Direct 3D. OpenGL 4.1 has better error handling and debugging. OpenGL 4.0 needed the Shader program to be compiled at runtime each time a program runs. This can cause significant initialization delay. However, with OpenGL 4.1, the compiled code can be cached for later reuse. The same improvements are present in WebGL, which will make for improved security in web browsing. The debugging features can help developers trace the behavior of any exploit. Further, Microsoft currently does not have any alternative to WebGL and this can make it the standalone champion in this field. (Source)

Jolicloud as a Second Netbook OS – It Plays Well With Windows

jolicloud-ico [Linux] Back in March, we broke the news that Jolicloud had released their Pre-Final build. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Jolicloud is a customized version of Linux Ubuntu Netbook Edition (UNE). It’s designed to be an easy and trouble-free operating system for almost all netbooks. It’s taken me awhile, but I’ve finally had time to install Jolicloud and try it out on my HP Mini netbook. I’ll give you some details and screenshots from my brief time exploring Jolicloud.

If your netbook has Windows installed on it, you have the option to use Jolicloud Express to install Jolicloud alongside Windows, leaving all of your Windows files and programs untouched. The alternative is to download the ISO image file and create a bootable flash card or USB stick. I have made several bootable live Linux sticks in the past, and it’s not hard to do, but I found that Jolicloud Express is far easier to use. You’ll find both options on the Jolicloud download page.

jolicloud-download

I used the express method. I downloaded a 15mb installer file and launched it. It’s as easy as installing any other program in Windows. You’ll be prompted to tell the installer how much room to allow it on your C: drive. The default is 50Gb, and that’s what I chose.

Once it begins, it will set up a Jolicloud folder on your C: drive and begin downloading the rest of Jolicloud. This step took about 25 minutes on my broadband service. Your download time may vary.

jolicloud-installing

After it is done with this download, you’ll be asked a few more questions, such as the login and password you want to log in with. Finally you’ll be asked to reboot the netbook and it will restart when you select the new entry in your Windows boot selection screen. From this time on, whenever you reboot your netbook, you will always have a choice to boot into Windows or Jolicloud. Here’s what I saw the first time I booted Jolicloud. This is the Launcheror home page.

Screenshot

The program categories are on the left in a sidebar, and as you click on each category, you’ll see the available applications appear in the center of the desktop. As you can see, they offer you easy navigation of the file system on the right sidebar. Even your Windows files are easily accessible at the bottom of that sidebar.

At the top of the home page, you’ll see the home icon on the left. When you launch applications, you’ll see icons for them appear beside the home icon. Whenever you want to switch back to the launcher menus, click the home icon.

At the top right, you’ll see the status bar with icons for updates, Jolicloud services, network connections, system settings, and time/date/weather. Connecting to my home wireless network was as simple as clicking once on the network icon and selecting from a list of available networks.

Clicking on the little blue heart icon in the status bar opens up a tabbed page with your Jolicloud friends (Social Stream) and the Applications Directory, with over 700 ready to install apps.

jolicloud-apps

You’ll find almost everything you need for a rich user experience on your netbook, such as music, video, email, Facebook, Twitter and Skype.

If you decide that you don’t like Jolicloud, and you used the express install method, you can uninstall Jolicloud as easily as any other Windows app.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

If you need a simple, fast, secure and visually pleasing OS on your netbook, this one will be hard to beat. The express install option is a big winner, making it one of the easiest Linux OS’s to install. For those with more Linux experience, you might want to stick with Ubuntu Netbook Edition. It’s much more flexible but definitely more difficult for newbies. I believe that Jolicloud will continue to bring good news to netbook users who may not want to be chained to Microsoft Windows.

techiebuzzrecommendedsoftware1

Techie Buzz Verdict: 4/5 (Excellent)

New Gwibber Mock-Up Aims To Unclutter It

Gwibber is the microblogging client that is included with Ubuntu 10.04 by default. It is much more than just a simple microblogging client, as the number of services it supports is unprecedented. And this is what creates a problem for Gwibber – its interface is too complex and looks too cluttered.

Neil Patel has come up with a very interesting mock-up which may solve this problem. Neil Patel is the Technical Lead Ubuntu Netbook Edition and Unity, Desktop Experience Team, Canonical Ltd. According to Patel, these are the main challenges that Gwibber faces:

  1. Support multiple accounts from different services, presenting the information in one stream to the user.
  2. Be able to filter the main view to one account (i.e. choosing to only see Twitter-related material in the views).
  3. Integrate into many different desktops, but still try to have its own identity.

So, to improve the user experience in Gwibber, he has burrowed some ideas from other microblogging clients on other platforms, and came up with these:

As amazing as this mock-up are, there has been no words on if it will actually be implemented. However, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Dell Drops Ubuntu From Their UK Website

A few days back, Dell put up a webpage which was meant to help buyers choose between Windows and Ubuntu, but it ended up confusing everyone.

Now, Dell have decided to take another bizarre decision by removing Ubuntu PC and laptops from their UK website. Dell Latitude 2100 is the only result that the website returns when you search for Ubuntu.

According to PC Pro, Dell insists that they still offer Ubuntu system – it is just that it is only available through their phone-based sale. Dell says that they have removed the Ubuntu offerings since they are making some changes to the Ubuntu page. However, they did not confirm if or when the Ubuntu page will be back.

Dell also cited the lack of customer interest towards Ubuntu as a reason for not putting Ubuntu in their main page. This is what a Dell spokesperson told PC Pro:

The reason why they’re not on our main pages is because Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts, and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed.

When Dell themselves are saying that Ubuntu is for open-source developers, it is no surprise that people choose not to buy the Ubuntu systems.

The Ubuntu systems are, however, still available in Dell’s US and India specific website.

Ubuntu 10.10 To Make Sharing Your Favorite Song A Breeze

The Ubuntu One Music Store in Rythmbox is getting a new feature, which will enable you to easily share your favorite song in Twitter, and hopefully help Canonical make some cash in the process. This feature make its  appearance  in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, which is scheduled to be released this October.

In Ubuntu 10.10, Rythmbox is getting a new “Link Share” button. If you want to share the song you are listening to with others, all you have to do is click on the “Link Share”. A quick search for the track will be performed in the 7Digital catalog. (7Digital is the company behind the Ubuntu One Music Store.) If the track is found, you will be presented with the link to the track and a “Tweet this link” button. Clicking the “Tweet this link” button will send the message to Gwibber, from where you can tweet it.

When someone click on the link in Twitter, he will be presented with the option to buy the track. Of course, he need to be on Ubuntu and have an Ubuntu One account to purchase.

What do you think about this feature? Will you use it?

[source: OMG!UBUNTU!]

Thesis Bows down to Open Source Still keeping its Rightful Ownership

The Thesis vs. WordPress war was just catching up but could not go far as it was compelled to use open source licensing finally. If you were not following, Thesis theme developer Chris Pearson was interviewed a few days ago when he spilled the beans regarding his profits from Thesis.

This was enough to upset WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, who wanted Thesis to respect the open source License WordPress is based on. Thesis has maintained a low profile and saved itself from the attention of FOSS fanatics. However, the recent interview fired up the FOSS community fueled by Mullenweg’s tweets. This was enough to force Pearson to accept that his code indeed used some of open source and now, Thesis is available under a split GPL.

Does that mean we all can use Thesis now? No. This move will hardly affect anyone. The split GPL Thesis is using will make the PHP part of the code open keeping back the JavaScript and the CSS. However, this was necessary at the same time. Pearson had to keep his business based on Thesis.

Matt Mullenweg was of the opinion,

Even if Thesis hadn’t copy and pasted large swathes of code from WordPress (and GPL plugins) its PHP would still need to be under the GPL. We write software that empowers and protects the freedoms of  users, it’s our Bill of Rights. People should respect that.

The move has saved Thesis from further scrutiny and has ended a cold war between Thesis and WordPress. The last time a tech giant used open source code, the media booed it heavily. This move helped Thesis save its reputation at the same time.

(Source)