Free 3D Modelling Software – Blender 2.53 Beta, Released

The Blender Foundation has just announced the release of Blender 2.53 Beta. Blender is an open-source and free 3D modelling software. It is available for Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Solaris. Blender was used in the creation of a number Open Movies.

This is how Wikipedia describes Blender:

Blender is a free 3D graphics application that can be used for modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, rigging, water and smoke simulations,skinning, animating, rendering, particle and other simulations, non-linear editing, compositing, and creating interactive 3D applications, including video games, animated film, or visual effects.

With this release, Blender has gained a number of new features and improvements.

User Interface

Blender 2.53 Beta has a new clearer, better organized and fully customizable user interface. It also has an updated graphic design and a new icon set. Creation of custom keyboard shortcuts is also now possible in Blender. Key definitions can be grouped in “key maps” and each key map can be fully customized and saved.


Supports for add-ons have also been added in Blender. These add-ons are python scripts which do specific functions and can be installed or uninstalled separately.

Support For 64-bit

Blender already has support for 64-bit systems in Linux and Windows. With this release, it has been extended to Mac OS X too.


In the Sculpt mode drawing and editing performances have been improved significantly. It has also been optimized to reduce the memory usage to support more detailed models. The quality and usability of the brush and stroke system have also been significantly improved. All these improvements means that Blender can now generate more detailed 3D models.

Smoke and Particle Simulation

Blender has a new smoke simulation engine, which can create more realistic smoke. The particle simulation now has a fully interactive animation playback and editing.

Download Blender 2.53 Beta For Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Solaris


Install Gloobus Preview In Ubuntu

Gloobus Preview is an extension to the GNOME desktop to allow for quick preview of selected files. It is inspired by Apple’s Quickview. Gloobus Preview allows you to get a quick preview of more than 40 different file types which includes audio, video, image, documents etc.

A cool thing with Gloobus Preview is that when you are previewing an audio or a video file, you can drag the slider of the progress bar like in other players.

Gloobus Preview is currently available for Ubuntu 9.10, 10.04 and 10.10. So, if you want to install Gloobus Preview, open the terminal and execute the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gloobus-dev/gloobus-preview
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gloobus-preview
sudo apt-get upgrade

If you are using Nautilus Elementary, to use Gloobus Preview, simply select the file you wish to preview and press Space. Press Space again to close the preview.

If you do not use Nautilus Elementary, you have to select the file and then press CTRL+C and CTRL+Space.

Lightspark, an Open Source Flash Alternative gets more Browser Friendly

Lightspark is an excellent Open Source Flash video player with support for the latest technologies in Flash. It supports ActionScript 3.0 and hardware accelerated graphics rendering based on OpenGL.

Lightspark has released the latest version 0.4.2. However, apart from regular flash playback, the reason to use this plugin can be numerous. To start with, the plugin is new and open source and will not gain wide acceptance and usage for a long time. This keeps it safe from the vulnerabilities Adobe flash runs into continuously. Moreover, the plugin has allowed real usage by releasing a Firefox plugin, which can make Lightspark the flash player on Mozilla. Apart from that, the Lightspark also supports the out-of-process feature Mozilla added for its plugins.

The official blog  reports this release saying,

More than a year has passed since the beginning of the Lightspark project. It was a long time indeed, but not wasted. I’m extremely pleased with the current level of support and the robust ness of the system.

With Lightspark, there is something for everyone. It has excellent debugging information on display and this can come in handy for developers who are targeting this platform.

NASA Leaving The Eucalyptus Cloud For Real Open-Source

NASA is leaving its Eucalyptus based cloud in favor of “real” open-source alternative for its Nebula infrastructure. According to NASA, not only are Eucalyptus clouds unable to achieve the scale they require, they are also not entirely open-source. NASA engineers were unable to contribute codes in Eucalyptus to improve its scalability because of conflict with Eucalyptus System Inc., who maintains a partially closed version of the platform.

So, they are leaving Eucalyptus based clouds and building their own platform which has been licensed with the Apache 2.0 license. NASA is building this new cloud platform, called Nova, with Rackspace as part of Rackspace’s recently announced OpenStack project.

It has been reported that the scale NASA is aiming Nebula to span one million physical machines and 60 million servers. According to NASA chief technology officer Chris Kemp, Eucalyptus cannot even get close to such scale. So they have to develop their won platform, Nova, to power Nebula.

This is what Kemp said:

Nebula is designed to be both massively scalable and incredibly cheap. You cannot certify commercial software in Nebula. We’re not even going to think about that.


Download The Ambiantastic Theme for Ubuntu

Ambiantastic is a theme for Ubuntu made by swordjr. It is basically a modification of the Ambiance theme, which is the default theme of Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx. In Ambiantastic, the polished Ambiance theme has been given a generous helping of orange color to brighten it up. The orange might put off some people, but in my opinion it looks simply fantastic.

So, if you want a new bright theme, try the Ambianstastic Theme.

Download Link (Download Ambiantastic (Ambiance III) and the Wallpaper)

If you know how to install themes in Ubuntu, go ahead enjoy the new theme. If you do not know, here is how to do it:

  • After the download has finished, go to System -> Appearance.
  • In the Appearance window, go to Themes and click on Install towards the bottom right.
  • In the Selection window, choose the theme you have just downloaded and click on open. At the time of writing this article, it is called 127730-Ambiance III.tar.gz.
  • Now the theme should be installed.
  • Tthe theme is named Ambiance III here, not Ambiantastic. So select Ambiance III.
  • If you have downloaded the wallpaper too, change it from the tab Background.
  • Close. Now you should have the new theme and the new wallpaper.

Download Ubuntu 10.04 With GMA 500 Support

If you have used Ubuntu on a netbook with Intel GMA 500, you would have noticed that GMA 500 support is not very good. GMA 500 is supported in some earlier versions of Ubuntu but in Lucid Lynx it is supported only experimentally; and that too not out of the box. You have to install it manually but it is not a simple and straight forward process as installing other drivers.

lucazade from Ubuntu Forum has built a live CD of Ubuntu 10.04 which supports GMA 500 out-of-the-box. He said that he has tested it in Acer Ao751h, Asus 1101HA, Asus 1201HA, Asus 91MT, Dell Mini 12, Fujitsu u820, Sony Vaio X, Vaio P.

However, there are still a few issues like –

  • Flash broken in full screen
  • Compiz is broken

On a positive note though, he has mentioned that battery life is improved with GMA 500 support.

So, if you want to give it a go, download links are given below.

Download Link:



Dell offers a confusing choice between Windows and Ubuntu

Dell is known to have offered both Windows and Ubuntu on its laptops for quite some time. This page at Dell tells you how you should choose between Windows and Ubuntu and the details on the page are quite shady.

To start with, the first few lines say,


UBUNTU is not a Microsoft Windows operating system – and is not compatible with Microsoft Office programs – so it is important you make the right choice:

How do you make the right choice? Does that mean you make the right choice by choosing Microsoft Windows, which is compatible with Microsoft Office programs?

Here are the top three reasons to go for Windows:

Choose WINDOWS if:

  • You are already using WINDOWS programs (e.g. Microsoft Office, ITunes etc.) and want to continue using them
  • You are familiar with WINDOWS and do not want to learn new programs for email, word-processing etc.
  • You are new to using computers

Seriously, should Windows users always go for Windows? How does that make sense? Ubuntu has and Songbird. I accept that they are not as feature rich as their paid counterparts, but they work just fine!

As far as new programs for mail and word processing are concerned, Thunderbird and OpenOffice are quite similar to Outlook and MS Word! Finally, let us do some math here. There are two kinds of people here, one who are new to computers and the second kind who are using them already. The first and the last points want a larger part of these two kinds to be stuck with Windows forever!

Having fun so far? You have not seen the better part. Here are the reasons to use Ubuntu:

Choose UBUNTU if:

  • You do not plan to use Microsoft WINDOWS
  • You are interested in open source programming

I do plan to use Windows and Ubuntu both and yes, half of the people I know who use Ubuntu have setup a dual boot. Usersmay or may not be interested in Open Source programming. Linux is not just for programmers! It is not a programing language. It is an Operating System.

Please do not confuse Dell, if you cannot convince. Have a look at the page here.

Peppermint Ice – A Cloud Focussed Linux Distro

The team behind the Linux distro, Peppermint OS, has come up with another OS called Peppermint Ice. Peppermint Ice is not an update to Peppermint OS; it is another version of Peppermint OS with greater focus on the cloud.

Peppermint OS itself was released only two months ago. It is a fork of Lubuntu and is extremely light. It actually started as an experiment to combine the desktop computing with cloud applications.

With Peppermint Ice, they are aiming to extend the usage of cloud applications than what was done in Peppermint OS. Peppermint Ice will have a Site Specific Browser, called Ice. Ice has been developed by Kendall Weaver, the creator of Peppermint OS, as a means to launch web applications and cloud applications (Software As A Service). Peppermint Ice will also have the Chromium browser as the default browser. They want to take the reliance of Peppermint Ice on the cloud to such an extent that they are considering dropping printer and scanner support in  favor  of Google Cloud Print.

This is what Kendall Weaver said to Distrowatch about Peppermint Ice:

In the near future we’ll be releasing Peppermint Ice.   It will feature Chromium as the default browser and will likely be even more cloud focused as we’ll likely drop printer and scanner support for it and replace more of the default applications with either smaller ones or cloud based alternatives. Once we launch Peppermint Ice we will be working towards bringing integration with Google Cloud Print as the next logical step in development for Ice and all other Peppermint versions. Essentially, we were finding a large group of people who were experimenting with the combo of Peppermint and Chromium and getting great results. We listened to these skilled users of ours on the forum, picked their brains a little, and now we can offer Peppermint Ice as a crowd sourced product.

Peppermint Ice is available for download here -> Download Peppermint Ice.


MySQL And Java Doing Well Under Oracle

After the drama over OpenSolaris a few days back, one might be tempted to think that the other Sun Microsystems products like MySQL and Java would be having problems too.

Well, according to a developer survey conducted by Jaspersoft, Java and MySQL has not been affected much by Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems. In fact, they are doing quite well under Oracle.

Here are some interesting things from the survey:

  • More than 75 percent of respondents said their use of MySQL would increase or stay the same under Oracle.
  • More than 75 percent of respondents predicted that MySQL development would continue at the same pace and even improve under Oracle.
  • Almost all respondents said they’d continue to use Java, or increase the use of Java in their organization, under Oracle. These results say Java is still a vibrant and popular programming language.
  • Nearly 80 percent of respondents felt that the Java Community Process (JCP) would remain the same or improve under Oracle.

The result for Java is not surprising considering the fact that there are not many alternatives to Java right now. However, despite the availability of the other database management systems, most of the developers still prefer MySQL.  So yes the developers still trust Oracle to keep MySQL and Java alive.

However, it would be wrong to compare this with the issue surrounding OpenSolaris. Java and MySQL are very widely used and Oracle can only gain by continuing to support them. The case is different with OpenSolaris though. OpenSolaris is almost non-existent in desktops; even for supercomputers only 2 of TOP500 supercomputers run on OpenSolaris.

[via: cnet news]

Jolicloud users, get ready for an HTML5 User Interface

Jolicloud is a popular Ubuntu Netbook Remix fork and takes things a step further up by creating an awesome UI based on HTML5.  HTML5 has extensive support for creating awesome apps and the new launcher in Jolicloud, version 1.0 has been created completely in HTML5.

Jolicloud has come a long way and has released remarkable distros with the release of each of Ubuntu Netbook Remix. This time though, they are going for cloud storage and synchronization across all machines on which Jolicloud is installed. This makes installing apps, an install once and use anywhere phenomenon. Equally, files can be shared using Dropbox and other file sharing services.

The app center has over 700 apps for you to check out. Moreover, it comes pre-installed with apps for Gmail, Skype, Twitter and Firefox. This makes Jolicloud a better Netbook OS. The updates should start rolling out next week.

See this video to have a better view of the new look and features.

Cant see the video? Watch it at YouTube here.