Tag Archives: Linux Distros

Run Linux In Your Browser

Linux is often considered as a geeky OS when compared to Windows and Mac OS X, however, over the past few years it has become much easier to use and almost emulates a desktop environment which is similar to Windows and Mac.

There are several popular Linux Distros like Ubuntu, Fedora,   JoliCloud, Linux Mint and more which are now widely used by people. If you want to try out Linux you can also dual-boot on your Windows machine (see Install Ubuntu in Windows). However, if you are someone who is afraid of installing additional software on your computer, you can now test out Linux from your web browser, albeit only the command prompt.

The Linux browser emulator was created thanks to a port of an emulator called QEMU to JavaScript.

QEMU is a generic and open source machine emulator and virtualizer.

When used as a machine emulator, QEMU can run OSes and programs made for one machine (e.g. an ARM board) on a different machine (e.g. your own PC). By using dynamic translation, it achieves very good performance.

When used as a virtualizer, QEMU achieves near native performances by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU. QEMU supports virtualization when executing under the Xen hypervisor or using the KVM kernel module in Linux. When using KVM, QEMU can virtualize x86, server and embedded PowerPC, and S390 guests.

The emulator has been written by Fabrice Bellard, a famous open source developer who has also developed several other popular projects in the past. The Linux PC emulator is written completely in JavaScript and was compiled using 2.6.20 Linux Kernel. The emulated hardware consists of the following things:

  • a 32 bit x86 compatible CPU
  • a 8259 Programmble Interrupt Controller
  • a 8254 Programmble Interrupt Timer
  • a 16450 UART.

 

Run Linux in Browser

Most of the modern browsers sport faster and smarter JavaScript engines. The Linux emulator for browsers goes on to show how powerful JavaScript has become and what it could be used to do.

The developer has tested Linux in browser in and 11. The beta version of Google Chrome is not yet supported. You can test out the Linux OS in the browser by visiting http://bellard.org/jslinux/. Also visit this technical notes page for more information on the Linux emulator for the browser.

Splashtop OS – New Version for Laptops and Netbooks

Are you tired of waiting for Windows to boot up? Let’s say that you are on the road and you want to stop briefly at a wifi hotspot to check on directions or weather. What might take you 3 or 4 minutes in Windows, can easily be done in less than a minute in the Splashtop OS (operating system).

Previous to the latest version of Splashtop, you either had it installed from the factory, or you didn’t. Now Splashtop can be installed on many Windows laptops and netbooks.

According to the website:

If your device is not one of the currently supported platforms … , you can still install and try Splashtop OS you will be given a pre-boot menu with the option to launch Windows (default) or Splashtop OS.

I’ll show you how easy this OS is to install, but first, take a look at Splashtop in action:

Mandriva 2011 Beta 1 Released

After a two days delay, the Mandriva team has released the first beta of Mandriva 2011 yesterday. This is a release meant for testing before the final version is released in June 2011.

Mandriva 2011 Beta 1 is based on the Linux kernel 2.6.37.2 and has KDE Software Compilation 4.6.1 for its desktop. This Linux kernel is not the latest version available, but the KDE SC is the latest stable version. It will be upgraded to Linux kernel 2.6.38 in a later update or in beta 2. For users who do not prefer KDE SC, Mandriva is also available with GNOME 2.32.1 and XFCE 4.8.0.

Mandriva 2011 Beta 1 features the latest versions of various applications like Firefox 4 Release Candidate 1, Thunderbird 3.1.9, OpenOffice.org 3.2.0 etc. The default music player in Mandriva 2011 Beta 1 is Clementine 0.6 and Choqok is included as the default microblogging client. I find it interesting that Mandriva is still sticking with OpenOffice rather than LibreOffice unlike Ubuntu and Fedora.

Visually too, Mandriva 2011 Beta 1 has some changes. The GUI installer now uses the same theme as the default Mandriva theme. The KDE style and KDE window theme has also be changed to use Qtcurve by default.

Under the hood, this release has a lot of updated components as well. Of the updated components, mention may be made of systemd 20 , network manager 0.8.3.997, X.Org 7.5, XOrg Server 1.9.4 etc.

As with any beta software, Mandriva 2011 Beta 1 is meant for testing and should not be used in production machines. If you want to test it, you can download it from one of the mirrors in the link below.

Download Mandriva 2011 Beta 1

This beta will be followed by another beta and a release candidate. The final stable release of Mandriva 2011 is expected scheduled for 13 june 2011.

If you want more details, you can read the release note announcement here and the release note here.

If you do decide to test this beta release, do not forget to report bugs you encounter at Mandriva’s Bugzilla page.

[image credit]

Nokia E7 Launched In India For Rs 29,999

Today, Nokia released the next generation business communicator the E7 in India, within a few days of its global launch. The Nokia E7 sports a huge 4-inch ClearBlack Display with nHD (360×640) resolution.

The E7 also features a spacious four-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The handset is powered by an ARM11 680Mhz processor and packs 256MB of RAM. The back of the handset sports an 8MP EDoF camera with dual-LED flash, while there is a VGA cam up front for all your video calling needs.

The E7 also has 16GB of internal memory, and supports USB On-The-Go as well. Sadly, the E7 has an inbuilt battery like the iPhone and the N8.

Nokia_E7

The E7 also suffices the needs of business users with support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Mail for Exchange and VPN support. Nokia has also tied-up with Vodafone to offer 2GB of free data usage to all E7 owners for six months. The offer is valid for all Vodafone 2G and 3G users.

The Nokia E7 will be available across all Nokia Priority dealers effective immediately, with a best buy price of Rs 29,999.

Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS Released

Although most of the actions are taking place in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal, Ubuntu 10.04 is still a very important release. Being an Long Term Support (LTS) release, it is widely used by those who prefer stability to new features and on servers where stability is very critical.

Canonical is  committed  to supporting Ubuntu 10.04 till April 2013 on desktops and April 2015 on servers. So, in continuation of the support, they have made available a new maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04. The new release – Ubuntu 10.04.2 – is the second maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04.

Since this is a maintenance release, it does not come with any new features. However, it does include a number of security updates and bug fixes which affected the release earlier. One of the most critical bug fixed in this  maintenance  release  is are the installation bugs. The bug in the installation process which caused performance regression on ext4  file-systems  has been fixed in this maintenance release.

This is what Kate Stewart, Ubuntu Release Manager, wrote in the mailing list:

Numerous updates have been integrated, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Along with Ubuntu, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 has also been released. Ubuntu 10.04.2, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 are available for download for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Server

Download Kubuntu 10.04

Download Xubuntu 10.04

If you are already using Ubuntu 10.04, you do not need to download the ISO again. Instead, you can simply update your system as usual.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

You can view the change log of Ubuntu 10.04.2 here. The next maintenance  release of Ubuntu 10.04 is scheduled for July 2011.

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 X.org, 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.

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:

Release Date
Alpha 1 4th Novembe 2010
Alpha 2 2nd December 2010
Alpha 3 6th January 2011
Alpha 4 3rd February 2011
Alpha 5 3rd March 2011
Beta 31st March 2011
Release Candidate 21st April 2011
Final Release 28th April 2011

You can see the detailed schedule at the Ubuntu Wiki.

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.

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)

Damn Vulnerable Linux: Educational Security Tools

Damn Vulnerable Linux is a security distro, which can be an excellent learning tool. The distro includes older version of popular software like Apache web server, MySQL, PHP and others. The objective to create such a distro is to let users try out known hacks and vulnerabilities on these technologies and hone their skills.

The distro is explained as,

DVL is a live CD available as a 1,8 GB ISO. It contains older, easily breakable versions of Apache, MySQL, PHP, and FTP and SSH daemons, as well as several tools available to help you compile, debug, and break applications running on these services, including GCC, GDB, NASM, strace, ELF Shell, DDD, LDasm, LIDa, and more.

DVL is made by people with significant black hat backgrounds, incorporating the community of ReverseEngineering.net and Crackmes.de. It contains a huge amount of lessons, including lesson descriptions and solutions if the level has been solved by a community member at Crackmes.de.

Apparently the distro has been made vulnerable to attacks and can be used to teach thread hijacking, buffer overflow, SQL injection and other forms of exploits.

The distro is sized at 1.8 GB and is available as a zip file. Head over to the Damn Vulnerable Linux (DVL) page to read more and download the distro.