Mark Shuttleworth: “Real Possibility of Google Chrome Replacing Firefox In Future Ubuntu Release”

During the Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric, we reported that there were discussions about Chrome (or rather, its open source version, Chromium) replacing Firefox as the default browser in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. That did not happen and Firefox remained as the default browser for Oneiric.

In an interview with Network World, Mark Shuttleworth confirmed that Canonical is looking to replace Firefox with Chrome in Ubuntu. Shuttleworth said that he is a big fan of the browser from Google and confirmed that there was discussion on the feasibility of Chrome (or Chromium) replacing Firefox in Ubuntu 11.10. That did not happen and the switch will, in all  probability,  not happen in Ubuntu 12.04 as well because it is a Long term Support (LTS) Release.


So, it may take one year for Chrome to replace Firefox, but Shuttleworth said that it is a real possibility that we may see Firefox being replaced in Ubuntu 12.10. However with the pace of Chrome’s development and Mozilla adopting an accelerated development cycle for Firefox recently, thing could change a lot in a year.

Shuttleworth said that one of the best thing to have happened for Chrome on Linux has been Chrome OS. Because Chrome OS is basically Chrome running on a Linux, Google has invested a lot in optimizing the performance of Chrome on Linux. That has resulted in Chrome on Linux outperforming the other platforms Mac and Windows.

Whatever the default browser is, users are free to install the browser that suits their need, just like Chrome users do today. So, in essence choosing Chrome/Chromium as the default browser will not affect anything. It will simply be an acknowledgement of the progress that Google Chrome (or Chromium) has made in the last two years.

Which browser do you prefer? Firefox or Chrome/Chromium?

[image credit]

Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman Talks About 20 Years Of Linux at LinuxCon 2011

From the dorm room of a geeky Finnish Computer Science student 20 years ago to powering a majority of all the web servers and more than 90% of the fastest supercomputers today, Linux has come a very long way.

This year marks the start of the third decade of Linux development and to mark the third decade, Linux 3.0 is coming in about seven weeks. At the LinuxCon 2011, which took place in Japan, Linus Torvalds and Greg Kroah-Hartman sat down to talk about Linux how much it has achieved in the last two decades, the kernel development process, Linux on desktop etc.

Linus Torvalds is the person who started Linux 20 years ago and Greg Kroah-Hartman is the developer who currently maintains the stable branch of the Linux kernel.

At 47 minutes, the video is a bit long but it is certainly worth watching for any Linux enthusiasts. (Click here if the embedded video does not work.)

Here are some interesting things Linus Torvalds said:

We are doing really well on the low-end and we are doing very well on the high-end. The desktop is … we have all the applications now. It is just a difficult market to get into.

– Linus Torvalds on Linux on desktop

2.6 has been there for eight years and it’s become kind of meaningless.

– Linus Torvalds on why he ended Linux 2.6

It speeded up enormously. We’ve had 40% performance increase. That is unheard of. But there is no new feature. There is no new interface for users. There is nothing new going on. It is doing the same old thing that everybody does millions of time a second.

– Linus Torvalds on his favorite feature (file system management)

How To Upgrade To KDE SC 4.6.4 In Kubuntu 11.04

kubuntu_logotype_black On June 10, the fourth maintenance release of the KDE Software compilation was released to the users. Being a maintenance release, KDE SC 4.6.4 does not bring any new features but has a lot of bug fixes from KDE 4.6.3.

What has changed in KDE SC 4.6.4?

Before we get on to the how-to-upgrade part, let us take a look at some of the important changes in KDE SC 4.6.4:

  • Do not allow invalid file names while renaming a file using Dolphin.
  • Better password handling for accessing remote servers using Dolphin.
  • The Folderview Plasmoid works correctly when dragging a file from Ark.
  • The KDE music player JuK has also received a number of bugfixes including better tag editor, better handling of the column width etc.
  • A bug which causes the notification window to slide out of screen instead of creating a new one has been fixed.

For all the bugs fixed in KDE SC 4.6.4, you can take a look at the changelog.

Upgrade To KDE SC 4.6.4

KDE Software Compilation 4.6.4 is now available for Kubuntu users. It is a safe upgrade for anyone using KDE SC 4.6.x and it is recommended that users upgrade their KDE installation to this version.

Right now it is available only for Natty (Kubuntu 11.04) users. So, Natty users can upgrade to KDE SC 4.6.4 by following the steps given below.

Open the Konsole and add the Kubuntu Updates PPA.

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:kubuntu-ppa/ppa

Then update the software list and upgrade your system.

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


Google Chrome 12 Stable version for Linux, Mac and Windows is Available Now

Google has announced the final stable release of its Google Chrome browser version  12.0.742.91. The browser is available for all three major operating systems, namely Windows, Linux and Mac. The announcement came yesterday and the latest version includes hardware accelerated 3D CSS and a new Safe Browsing feature.

The final stable version has removed Google Gears support and there are many visible as well as behind-the-scene changes. The dev team has taken care to release binary packages for supported linux distros like Ubuntu and Fedora. All in all, Google Chrome is on a strong roadmap and it is taking on the web-browser world with speed and features.

The list of changes as it appears on the official announcement post on the Google Chrome blog says,

  • Hardware accelerated 3D CSS
  • New Safe Browsing protection against downloading malicious files
  • Ability to delete Flash cookies from inside Chrome
  • Launch Apps by name from the Omnibox
  • Integrated Sync into new settings pages
  • Improved screen reader support
  • New warning when hitting Command-Q on Mac
  • Removal of Google Gears

Apart from these changes, there are numerous security fixes that went into the latest stable release. Some of these fixes had bounty points on them. The Chrome Release blog also wrote,

In addition, we would like to thank David Levin of the Chromium development community, miaubiz, Christian Holler and Martin Barbella for working with us in the development cycle and preventing bugs from ever reaching the stable channel. Various rewards were issued.

We’d also like to call particular attention to Sergey Glazunov’s $3133.7 reward. Although the linked bug is not of critical severity, it was accompanied by a beautiful chain of lesser severity bugs which demonstrated critical impact. It deserves a more detailed write-up at a later date.

As always, the download is available at the Google Chrome download page.

How To Install Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 in Ubuntu (11.04, 10.10 & 10.04)

Last week, Mozilla released Thunderbird 5 Beta 1. Thunderbird is a very popular email client from Mozilla, the organization behind Firefox browser. Mozilla has decided to skip Thunderbird 4 so as to keep up with the versioning of the Gecko engine.


Before we get on to how to install it, let us look at the main new features in Thunderbird 5 Beta 1.

  • Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 has a new add-on and extension management API.
  • Like in Firefox and other web browsers, tabs in Thunderbird can be reordered and rearranged across different windows.
  • The account creation wizard has been improved to make it a better and easier experience.

The user interface of Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 is the same as that of the previous release. But before the final release, it will get an updated user interface.

Install Thunderbird 5 Beta 1

Thunderbird 5 Beta 1 is now available in the the Mozilla Team’s PPA for Ubuntu. So, installation is very simple. Right now packages are available for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal, Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkatand Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx.

Note: Before installing please be aware that this is not a stable release and might break. If you are already using a previous version of Thunderbird, this will upgrade it.

Open the Terminal and execute the command given below:

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mozillateam/thunderbird-next

After the PPA has been added, update your software list:

$ sudo apt-get update

Finally install Thunderbird 5 Beta 1.

$ sudo apt-get install thunderbird


Thunderbird 5 in Unity Dash
Thunderbird 5 Beta 1




FOSS Friday: Ubuntu Coming To Asus Eee PC, Goes To Apache Foundation and More

This week, the main talking point in the world of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is Oracle giving to the Apache foundation. There has been interesting developments for Ubuntu as well. Let us take a look at some of the most the important FOSS news of the week.

Oracle Gives To Apache; The Document Foundation Not Happy About It

After alienating all the contributors in the community, Oracle has finally decided to call it a day and have ceded control of the codebase to the Apache Software Foundation. will now be developed as an Apache Incubator Project. You can read more about this story here.

Meanwhile, The Document Foundation is not happy with Oracle’s decision to ignore them and give control of to the Apache Foundation. Since the beginning, TDF has been asking Oracle to join them and donate to them. Read more about it here.

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 Released

The first alpha of Ubuntu 11.10 was released a few days back. Being the first development release, not much has changed from Ubuntu 11.04 which was released around a month back. The GNOME stack has been updated to GNOME 3, though. Find out more about it here.

Asus To Release Eee PC Netbooks with Ubuntu Pre-installed

Asus has announced that they are planning to release three Eee PC netbook models with Ubuntu installed. They also said that they plan to make more models available with Ubuntu by the end of the year. The Asus Eee PC will come with Ubuntu 10.10 and with Flash and other media codecs installed. More here.

Linus Torvalds Released Linux 3.0 RC

Ending the speculation as to whether the version number will be 2.8 or 3.0, Linus Torvalds has released the first release candidate of Linux 3.0. Despite the major bump in the version number, there are no big changes in Linux 3.0. Linus said that he does not want to break anything and that development will go ahead in the same manner they have been doing for Linux 2.6.x. Read more here.

Debian Wheezy, which is currently in development, has already decided to switch to Linux 3.0.

Debian Wheezy Moving To Linux 3.0


With Linux 3.0 on its way, the Debian developers have decided to move the Debian Wheezy development from Linux 2.6 to Linux 3.0.

Debian Wheezy is the successor to Debian Squeeze, which was was released earlier this year. Currently it is in development and is available from Sid.

As I have mentioned in the earlier article, Linux 3.0 brings no changes to the API or the ABI. So, moving Wheezy from Linux 2.6 to Linux 3.0 will not be a very difficult task. The developers will have to shorten the version string in their scripts to account for the new version system though.

The challenges to moving to Linux 3.0 are modifying the build scripts and some other programs which uses the version number. Build scripts usually check for a prefix of either 2.4 or 2.6. To account for Linux 3.0, the scripts will have to be modified.

Another challenge will come from the change in the version number system. Prior to Linux 3.0, the kernels are given a version number which consists of three numbers for example Linux 2.6.39. With the new system, the third number has been done away with and the version number consist of only two numbers for example Linux 3.0.

The modifications required to be made to the scripts and programs to account for these are not very big modifications. So, moving to Linux 3.0 should go smoothly for Wheezy. The Linux 2.6 packages will no longer be maintained after it has Wheezy has been moved to Linux 3.0.

The kernel team will not maintain linux-2.6 vs linux-3.0 packages. We will change the binary metapackages whose names include ‘2.6’ into transitional packages, to be removed after ‘wheezy’, and we may rename the source packages linux-2.6 and linux-latest-2.6.

You can read the announcement here.

Linux 3.0 RC Released With “Absolutely No Big Changes”

Earlier today, Linux announced the release of Linux 3.0 RC. This puts to rest the speculation over whether the next version will be 2.8 or 3.0 after Linus revealed that he is ending Linux 2.6.x series. According to Linus, he has ended the Linux 2.6.x series because the numbers has become too large. Linux 2.6.x has been in development for seven years and has seen 39 releases. However, there is a reason for choosing the version number 3.0 over 2.8 – Linux is entering its third decade of development.

I decided to just bite the bullet, and call the next version 3.0. It will get released close enough to the 20-year mark, which is excuse enough for me, although honestly, the real reason is just that I can no longer comfortably count as high as 40.

And thankfully, the feared features Linus planned for this release  – “breaking absolutely everything and rewriting the kernel to be a microkernel using a special message-passing version of Visual Basic” – did not make it to this release. (Read this if you do not get it.)

Jokes aside, perhaps the biggest news with this release is that there is absolutely no big feature. Yes, that is right, Linus just had renamed Linux 2.6.40 to Linux 3.0. This release is as simple as that – no magical new feature or no breaking old stuffs. This does not mean that Linux 3.0 will have no new features. There will be only small incremental new features.

Explaining why he has decided not to make any major change to reflect the major change in the version number, Linus wrote that he does not want to do a KDE 4 or a GNOME 3 by introducing changes in the API and the ABI. So, instead of big changes, Linux 3.0 will be developed in the same was Linux 2.6 was developed – small incremental changes.

Although, nothing will break at the kernel level, some third part scripts and applications will break because of the change in the major number and the new versioning system. These should be very easy to fix though.

The final version of Linux 3.0 is expected later this summer.

You can read Linus’ announcement here.

FOSS Friday – Fedora 15 Released, Linux Mint 11 Released And More

This week, we saw a lot of releases ranging from the release of Fedora 15 “Lovelock” to Puppy Linux Wary 5.1.2. Here are the main events that took place this week in the world of Free and Open Source Software.

Fedora 15 “Lovelock”

Six months after the release of Fedora 14, Fedora 15 “Lovelock” was released earlier this week. This is a very significant release not only for Fedora but for GNOME as well because it is the first major Linux distribution with GNOME Shell as the default desktop. Although, GNOME Shell is the most obvious change in Fedora 15, there are also a number of improvements under the hood such as the adoption of systemd, consistent network naming scheme etc. Read our coverage of the release for more details.

MeeGo to get Wayland this year

This is big news for both MeeGo and Wayland. The chief developer and creator of Wayland has announced that MeeGo might switch over to Wayland by October this year. Wayland is a replacement for the X Display Server which is more efficient and does not have the baggage that comes with X’s legacy supports. Refer this article for more details.

KDE SC 4.7 Beta was released for testing

KDE continues to develop the KDE platform at a very rapid pace. This week, they have released the first beta of KDE SC 4.7. The release has three important new features – improved offline search in Marble, GRUB2 integration in KDM and OpenGL-ES 2.0 support for KWin. The final release of KDE SC 4.7 is expected in June this year. Read this article for more details.

Linux 2.6.x series to end

Linus Torvalds has expressed his desire to end the current Linux 2.6.x series. The Linux 2.6.x series has been in development for more than seven years and has seen 39 releases till date. Torvalds said that the number has become too big and he is considering changing it to either 2.8 or 3.0. The suggestion to bump the version number to 3.x has been gaining good support as it can also mean the third decade of Linux development. More here.

Linux Mint 11 “Katya” Released – No Unity or GNOME 3

Linux Mint 11, codenamed “Katya” was released earlier this week. One of the main talking points of the release was not a new feature – rather the lack of it. Although Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, Linux Mint 11 has been released with the classic GNOME desktop. Linux Mint 11 also comes with many improvements such as better software manager and update manager. Read more here.

Puppy Linux Wary 5.1.2 Released

Puppy Linux Wary is yet another Linux distribution that was released this week. Although it is not nearly as popular as Fedora or Linux Mint, Puppy Linux has its own dedicated followers. The release is based on Puppy Linux 5 and has better hardware detection and a new experimental non-root account. Read more here.

Real time strategy game, 0 A.D., reaches 5th Alpha

0 A.D. is a real-time cross-platform strategy game which has been in development for sometime. A fifth alpha of the game has been released and it has better lighting in the game, new map, new faction etc. You can read more about it here. You can also read our previous article on 0 A.D. here.

KDE Software Compilation 4.7 Beta Released

KDE has released the first beta of the KDE Software Compilation 4.7. KDE SC 4.7 Beta has some pretty interesting features. Here are the main new features that has been included in this release:

  • KWin supports OpenGL-ES 2.0
  • KDM can interface with GRUB2
  • Marble supports offline search


Now let us take a look at these features in a little more details.

KWin supports OpenGL-ES 2.0

OpenGL-ES (OpenGL for Embedded System) 2.0 is a subset of the OpenGL 3D graphics API designed for embedded devices. OpenGL-ES works for both 2D and 3D graphics.

KWin is the default windows manager for KDE SC. The OpenGL-ES 2.0 support, opens up the possibility of using KDE Plasma on embedded devices such as mobile phones, PDAs etc. The OpenGL-ES support is a very important milestone for KDE.

KDM can interface with GRUB2

KDM (KDE Display Manager) is a graphical interface for logging in users. Although it can be used without KDE SC, it is generally used with the KDE Software Compilation.

GRUB (GRand Unified Bootloader) is a bootloader which supports the multiboot specifications it allows users to choose between different operating systems to boot into. It is generally used with Linux to dual boot with Windows or another distribution.


In KDE SC 4.7 Beta, support for GRUB2 has been added. What this means is that when restarting, the user can choose which operating system to boot into automatically.

Marble supports offline search

Marble-logo Marble is a virtual globe developed by KDE. Aside from Earth, Marble also supports the Moon, Mars and some other planets.

KDE SC 4.7 Beta includes Marble 1.2. Marble 1.2 improves upon Marble 1.1, which supports offline search for cities, by adding offline search by streets, house numbers and points of interests. The data required for this is huge without any doubt. So, the data is available in smaller packages divided by regions.

As it has just been released, KDE SC 4.7 Beta is not yet available for any of the major Linux distributions. Updates are expected to be available in the next few days for those who want to help out by testing it.

You can read more at the release announcement.