Gwibber Gets Revamped For Ubuntu 11.10 – Much Lighter And Faster Now

Gwibber is the default micro-blogging application that comes with Ubuntu. Ever since it has been included as a default application in Ubuntu, I have complained about it in every review I had done. It is so sluggish and consumes so much system resource that using it is never possible while doing any intensive task.

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Well, things are about to change in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot. Ubuntu 11.10 will have a fully revamped version of Gwibber Gwibber 3.1. While the earlier version of Gwibber was made using Python and Webkit, Gwibber 3.1 is made using Vala and GTK3.

What the change from Python/Webkit to Vala/GTK3 does is that it makes the application much lighter and faster. That has also allowed for the addition of some fancy animations to make the application better looking.

According to Gwibber developer Ken VanDine, the improvement in performance in Gwibber 3.1 is huge. This is what he told OMG!Ubuntu!:

The old client limited the stream to the latest 50 posts and would use about 150MB of RAM. The new client doesn’t limit the posts, in my test with 3000 posts in the stream it used about 42MB RAM.

Not only is that 3000 posts in a stream, we keep all the streams hotfor fast switching between them. So we actually have them all created and hidden.

Gwibber 3.1 also has a new user interface designed by Neil Patel. The new UI uses plenty of animations to make Gwibber comparable to the other Twitter clients available for Mac OS X and Windows. It also supports sorting of streams according to the oldest/newest post.

There is no plan as such to make Gwibber 3.1 available for Ubuntu 11.04. However, Jorge Castro of Canonical said that it might be available once it makes its way into Ubuntu 11.10.

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Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 Released For Testing

After the delay. Canonical has released the second alpha of Ubuntu 11.10. Meant for development purposes, this release has a number of new features that will finally make it to the final release in October.

The most visible changes will be the change from GDM to LightDM. LightDM has not been themed yet, unfortunately. So, when user starts up Ubuntu 11.10, they will not see the sleek-looking login. However, LightDM is extremely customizable and we should see some awesome themes soon. Another thing about LightDM is that it is very light weight and much faster than GDM.

Another change that testers will notice is Deja Dup. Deja Dup is a very easy-to-use backup tool that also supports backup to your Ubuntu One account. Users will find this a very useful application indeed.

Because of the restriction of the CD size limit, the addition of the new application Deja Dup meant that some other application has to be dropped. They application they decided to drop is Synaptic Package Manager. For new users, Synaptic is too difficult and they generally prefer the Ubuntu Software Center. As for the experienced users who find Synaptic much better, they can always install it through the command line.

The last change in applications is the email client.In Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2, Evolution has been replaced by Thunderbird 5. The decision to replace Evolution is not yet final though. If Thunderbird is found lacking during the testing, Evolution will be brought back.

The not-so-visible changes includes Linux 3.0-rc5 and GTK 3.

Kate Stewart, who made the announcement, warned that this is a release meant for testing and is not recommended for normal users.

Pre-releases of Oneiric Ocelot are *not* encouraged for anyone needing a stable system or anyone who is not comfortable running into occasional, even frequent breakage. They are, however, recommended for Ubuntu developers and those who want to help in testing, reporting, and fixing bugs.

If you want to test it, you can download Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 from here.

You can check out the release schedule here.

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 To Be Released On 7th June

According to the original release schedule, Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 was supposed to be released on 30th June. The release date was missed and now, it has been revealed that the second alpha of Ubuntu 11.10 will be released on 7th July. The other release date remains unchanged.

Now, here is the updated release schedule of Ubuntu 11.10:

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 2nd June

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 7th July

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3 4th August

Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 1 1st September

Ubuntu 11.10 Beta 2 23rd September

Ubuntu 11.10 Release Candidate 6th October

Ubuntu 11.10 Final Version 13th October

While the first Alpha was fairly mundane, the second Alpha will see many new features that will finally make it to the final release in October. Here is a list of the changes you will see in Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2:

  • GNOME 3 Finally, Ubuntu has made the transition from GNOME 2.32 to GNOME 3. By now, most the theme problems has been fixed. The default Ubuntu themes Ambiance and Radiance have been ported to GTK3.
  • Hybrid Image The ISO of Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 will be a hybrid image. This means that users no longer need the USB Startup Application to create a bootable Ubuntu USB drive.
  • No Synaptic Package Manager The Synaptic Package Manager will be no longer installed by default in Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2.
  • Thunderbird as default email client Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2 will not have Evolution as the default email client. Thunderbird will be installed as the default email client instead.
  • Linux 3.0 Ubuntu 11.10 will be based on the newly released Linux 3.0.
  • Deja Dup The backup tool, Deja Dup, will be installed by default in Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 2.
  • Firefox 5 – Firefox – the default web browser in Ubuntu 11.10 – will be updated to the latest version.

Thunderbird Becomes Default Email Client In Ubuntu 11.10

During the Ubuntu Developer Summit at Budapest, we reported that Thunderbird is being considered for replacing Evolution as the default email client for Ubuntu 11.10. The development for Ubuntu 11.10, though, started with Evolution as the default client since Thunderbird did not integrate into GNOME as well.

Well, it seems like Thunderbird has been pushed to replace Evolution in the latest daily build. According to the changelogs, noticed by Andrew of WebUpd8, evolution has been removed from desktop-recommends and Thunderbird has been added in its place. This means that in the next daily build of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, Thunderbird will be installed as the default email client.

This will be a welcome change for many users. I personally do not use desktop email clients, but I know many who do and most of them installs Thunderbird. Another advantage of having Thunderbird by default could be familiarity. Thunderbird is widely used in Windows as well. So, when a user switches to Ubuntu, it will be a pleasant experience to find the same application.

However, the change is not yet final. There is still the slight chance that things may not turn out well and developers decides to keep Evolution.

One critical feature that users will miss after the switch to Thunderbird is the calendar. Unlike Evolution, Thunderbird does not have an integrated calendar. However, it is easy to add one using add-on.

Do you want to see Thunderbird finally replacing Evolution? Or do you want think they should keep Evolution?

Synaptic Package Manager Removed From The Ubuntu 11.10 ISO

When Canonical started developing the Ubuntu Software Center, I knew that a time will come when it will completely replace Synaptic. The Software Center is a noob-friendly replacement for Synaptic where users can discover new applications more easily.

The Software Center had already taken over the function of Gdebi in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat and Gdebi is no longer included in the Ubuntu ISO. Unexpectedly, Canonical has decided that it is time for the Software Center to replace Synaptic as well. So, in the next daily build of Ubuntu 11.10, Synaptic will no longer be installed by default.

The decision to remove Synaptic is a very unexpected one. Yes, the Ubuntu Software Center looks prettier and new users are more likely to use it, but it does not have nearly as much feature as Synaptic does. Many of the features that are missing in the Ubuntu Software Center right now are very crucial features. Here is a list of some of the features that Synaptic has but are still absent in the Ubuntu Software Center:

  • Fix broken packages
  • Upgrade or downgrade a single or multiple packages
  • Lock packages to a specific version
  • Force install of a specific version of a package

There is still four months left till Ubuntu 11.10 gets released. I hope that is enough time for Canonical to add these missing features.

Synaptic will continue to be available in the repository, though, and can be installed with

$ sudo apt-get install synaptic

source: WebUpd8

Ubuntu To Be Distributed As A Hybrid Image

Fedora does it; OpenSUSE does it and now Ubuntu will also be distributed as a hybrid ISO. Many RPM distributions have been releasing their ISOs in the hybrid format for quite sometime now. Colin Watson of Canonical has announced yesterday that all the amd64 and i386 ISO for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelotwill be distributed in the hybrid format starting today.

What is a hybrid image?

Ubuntu users must be aware that whenever a new version of Ubuntu is released, it is made available as an ISO file. That file can be burned to a CD directly and the CD can be used to boot into an Ubuntu live environment and to install Ubuntu to the hard disk if the user desires. However if users wanted to install using a USB flash drive, they had to rely on a special application the Start-up Disk Creator.

With a hybrid image, users do not need the Start-up Disk Creator. If they want to boot using a USB flash drive, they can simply copy the contents of the image file into the USB drive. Of course, hybrid image can still be burned directly to a CD.

Why was Ubuntu so late in adopting hybrid image?

As mentioned above, many other Linux distributions have been releasing hybrid ISOs for quite a while now. Ubuntu could not switch over to the hybrid images because, like Debian, Ubuntu was using jigdo downloads. Switching to a hybrid image will break jigdo.

Debian switched over from jigdo to xorisso in January because xorisso works with hybrid images. And now Ubuntu too has decided to switch over to xorisso and distribute hybrid images after all Ubuntu is a Debian derivative.

What does this mean for users?

For those who uses the image files by burning it to a CD, this means absolutely nothing for them. Everything will work as it has always worked.

For those who prefers USB flash drives to CDs, this means that the Ubuntu Start-up Creator is no longer needed. All that is needed to make a bootable USB drive is the dd command. Here is the syntax for the command:

dd if=<image_name> of=/dev/sdX

<image_name> is the name of the hybrid image you have downloaded and sdX is your USB drive.

Right now I do not think that there is no GUI application to do this. But before the release of Ubuntu 11.10, I expect to see one.

Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” Alpha 1 Released

As scheduled, the first alpha of Ubuntu 11.10, codenamed Oneiric Ocelot, has been released today.

The biggest change in Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 from Ubuntu 11.04 is GNOME 3.0. Ubuntu 11.04 has GNOME 2.32. In Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1, it has been upgraded to the new GNOME 3.0. The immediate effects of the upgrade will be visible with the theme since Radiance and Ambiance themes have not been ported to GTK3, the applications look ugly like Windows 95 for now.

Other then GNOME3, there are not much changes except for version upgrades of applications for example Firefox has been updated to Firefox 5 Beta.

The KDE derivative, Kubuntu 11.10 too has been released but it does not have much changes. The most notable change is that Muon Software Center has replaced KPackage Kit. KDE SC 4.4 beta 1 has not been included and Kubuntu 11.10 still uses KDE 4.6.3.

Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelotis not recommended for use, except for testing. In case you want to test it, you can either upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04 or do a clean install.

Upgrade

To upgrade from Ubuntu 11.04, open the Terminal and execute the command given below:

$ sudo do-release-upgrade d

Download

To download the CD image of Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 and its derivatives, follow the link given below:

Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 1 Desktop and Server

Kubuntu 11.10

Read more here.

You can see the release schedule here and the main features planned for Ubuntu 11.10 here.

Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" Features Defined

ubuntu-new-logo After the conclusion of the Ubuntu Developers Summit – Oneiric, we pretty much knew what to expect from Ubuntu 11.10. Today, Jason Warner from Canonical has made the feature list for Ubuntu 11.10 official. Let us take a look at the new features that are making it into Ubutnu 11.10 one by one.

GNOME 3

After resisting the change to GNOME 3 in Ubuntu 11.04, Ubuntu 11.10 will finally make the move to GNOME 3. Ubuntu 11.10 will, however, continue to use Unity not GNOME 3.

The move to GNOME 3 is likely to be the most challenging part of the Oneiric development. GNOME 3 does not have any indicator menu integration yet and there are no GTK3 themes as well.

LightDM will replace GDM

The earlier reports that LightDM might replace GDM has been confirmed. LightDM is a light weight display manager which supports extensive themeing capabilities not supported in either KDM or GDM.

There has been no confirmation yet as to whether LightDM will replace KDM as well.

Unity 2D will replace Ubuntu Classic Desktop

In Ubuntu 11.04, the Ubuntu Classic Desktop was used to provide a fall back option if the hardware cannot run Unity. In Ubuntu 11.10, the Ubuntu Classic Desktop has been removed and Unity 2D will be used as a fall back option.

The addition of Unity 2D means that for the first time in its history, Ubuntu will come with Qt by default something which Shuttleworth has said will happen earlier this year.

Software Center to get better

The Ubuntu Software Center is also getting a new look which emphasizes touch friendliness. It will also be better integrated into Unity and the performance will receive   a boost.

Thunderbird will be the default email client

The talks about Thunderbird replacing Evolution as the default email client has been confirmed. Thunderbird is a much more feature rich and faster email client than Evolution. However, work needs to be done to give Thunderbird the same features as Evolution has due of its deep GNOME integration.

Gwibber UI to change

There is no doubt that Gwibber is one of the most frustrating applications to use that comes by default with Ubuntu. In Ubuntu 11.10, that might change. Gwibbber is about to get a UI port to improve its responsiveness and give it a more modern look.

Deja Dup

As we have mentioned before, Ubuntu 11.10 come with the backup tool Deja Dup by default.

You can view the release schedule of Ubuntu 11.10 here.

Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” Release Schedule

Now that Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” had been released and the developers have decided on the course that the next release will take, the release schedule of Ubuntu 11.10, codenamed “Oneiric Ocelot”, has been released.

According to the release schedule, we will see the first alpha of Ubuntu 11.10 as early as 2nd June and the final release is scheduled on 13th October. Here are the important milestones for the Ubuntu 11.10 development cycle:

2nd June Alpha 1

30th June Alpha 2

4th August Alpha 3

1st September Beta 1

23rd September Beta 2

6th October Release Candidate

13th October Final Release

Ubuntu 11.10 will continue to use the Unity interface. The classic desktop option found in Ubuntu 11.04 will be replaced by Unity 2D. Although Ubuntu 11.10 will use Unity, the GNOME stack will be updated to GNOME 3. The GNOME Display manager is also expected to be dropped in favor the LightDM.

There are also a few new applications that are making their way into Ubuntu 11.10 such as the back up tool Deja Dup and email client Thunderbird. Technically, Thunderbird has not been confirmed for inclusion, but it is very likely that it will replace Evolution. A few applications such as the video editor PiTiVi and Computer Janitor have been dropped. You can read more about the changes expected in Ubuntu 11.10 from our coverage of the Ubuntu Developers Summit.

If you want the detailed release schedule, check it out here.