Mark Shuttleworth Closes Ubuntu Bug#1

Mark Shuttleworth has closed a long-standing Bug#1 on Launchpad. Launchpad is a project-hosting repository based on Bazaar VCS, and is used by Ubuntu developers to manage their codes and bugs. The Launchpad bug tracking system saw its first bug in August 2008, and it was more of a visionary target than a bug. It reads: “Microsoft has a majority market share”.

bug-1

The bug attracted many people towards Ubuntu, fueled discussions and played a key role in bringing together a group of people with a shared vision for the Ubuntu operating system. Today, Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro and has a thriving developer community. The premises under which this bug was filed have changed, and it was time for the bug to be removed from Launchpad. Shuttleworth also writes a comment on the bug, saying,

Android may not be my or your first choice of Linux, but it is without doubt an open source platform that offers both practical and economic benefits to users and industry. So we have both competition, and good representation for open source, in personal computing.

Today, personal computing has moved beyond PCs, and it includes a plethora of other devices that keep us connected to the Internet 24X7. Lots of responsibilities of the PC have been offloaded to these devices and while Microsoft still has a monopoly on the PC market, in the overall computing sphere, Linux based  platforms have emerged as strong contenders leaving Microsoft far behind in the race.

The closing of the bug also helps the Ubuntu ecosystem think in retrospect, where they are headed and how they have evolved from those early days. This bug will be remembered for its significance.

Mark Shuttleworth Clarifies Canonical’s Role in Ubuntu

If you have followed Ubuntu closely over the last two years, you will notice how it grew rapidly from being a simple Linux distro for the desktop to a full-fledged user experience across multiple devices: television, smartphones, tablets and PCs. This is highly commendable, and this evolution has been made possible by the combined efforts of Canonical and the developer community of Ubuntu. However, as it happens with any large project, some Ubuntu developers are averse to this idea of transforming Ubuntu into a cloud-based multi-device platform.

Canonical-Logo

In a reply to those developers, Mark Shuttleworth has talked about the position of Canonical in the development of Ubuntu. Mark Shuttleworth believes that cloud and mobile have a bright future and will make a bigger impact. Ubuntu needs to gear up for that, and that is the reason that they have focused on this multi-platform strategy. Ubuntu is being made future-proof in this manner.

He has also declared that while Ubuntu is a community effort (and will always be), Canonical plays a major role in this project and nurtures it like a baby.

There are lots of pure community distros. And wow, they are full of politics, spite, frustration, venality and disappointment. Why? Because people are people, and work is hard, and collaboration is even harder. That’s nothing to do with Canonical, and everything to do with life. In fact, in most of the pure-community projects I’ve watched and participated in, the biggest meme is ‘if only we had someone that could do the heavy lifting’. Ubuntu has that in Canonical – and the combination of our joint efforts has become the most popular platform for Linux fans.

Undoubtedly, Canonical’s role in Ubuntu is that of a visionary leader. Canonical has based a business around this product, so it has a vested interest in the Ubuntu project too. That is the reason why Canonical has always played a leadership role in the Ubuntu project and it has done a good job at it. However, there is a high probability that this attitude of Mark Shuttleworth (whose thoughts reflect that of Canonical’s) can actually spark politics, spite, frustration, venality and disappointment in the Ubuntu community, turning it into one of those projects that he so strongly detests as seen above.

Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview Build For Nexus Devices Now Available

As promised the Canonical Team has released the Developer preview builds of Ubuntu Touch for the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and the Nexus 10. The developer preview builds are exactly that, developer preview, and are nowhere near good enough to be used as a daily driver.

Before you jump the gun and flash the Ubuntu Developer Preview build on your Nexus device, make sure that your device is supported. At the moment, the CDMA variants of the Galaxy Nexus are not supported and so is the 3G variant of the Nexus 7. If you are running Ubuntu, you can follow the installation instructions written here. If you are on Windows or Mac and/or are looking for the Fastboot flashable images, head over to this link and download all the image files for your Nexus device.

Since this a developer preview, not all features and functionality are working at the moment. Here is a list of what works according to Canonical -:

  1. Shell and core applications
  2. Connection to the GSM network (on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4)
  3. Phone calls and SMS (on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4)
  4. Networking via Wifi
  5. Functional camera (front and back)
  6. Device accessible through the Android Developer Bridge tool (adb)

You can also check out the list of device specific issues here.

Ubuntu for Tablets Revealed with Awesome Multitasking Capabilities

After the desktop PC, the television and the smartphone, Ubuntu has finally landed on the last content consumption device out there- the tablet. Canonical has recently teased its Ubuntu for tablet, and it is a marvelous piece of technology. It brings the seamless Ubuntu user experience to a touch interface, which makes the interface much more relevant and fun to use. Some additional features have also been built on top of the conventional Ubuntu interface, which are specific to a tablet interface, giving Ubuntu for tablets a fresh look and feel.

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Ubuntu for tablets comes with a Unity like app launcher sidebar, and a side stage that holds social updates and other apps that need your action.  This makes optimal use of the screen real estate. You can drag content between apps, and your app launcher sidebar doubles up as an app switcher, making it easier to multitask. However, the best feature of Ubuntu for tablets would undoubtedly be the non-intrusive notification that allows you to stay on your app while watching that video or reading that article, and yet respond to a message or send out a tweet, like Android notifications but enhanced.

This video demonstrates the capabilities of Ubuntu for tablets and also talks about a seamless Ubuntu experience across multiple devices — the smartphone, the tablet, the PC and the television.

Although Canonical is not talking about any hardware partners yet, it has mentioned hardware specs like an A15 processor, a 2 GB RAM and an 8 GB hard disk, which definitely rules out some devices. The first appearance of Ubuntu for tablet is due this Thursday, and it is arriving on the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets as a Developer Preview. Apart from that, it will also be available on the Galaxy Nexus and the Nexus 4 smartphones.

It is clear that Ubuntu for tablets and smartphones is trying to grab Android’s market share, as the partner page says things like,

Without the overhead of a Java virtual machine, Ubuntu runs core software at native speeds giving you
fast, fluid transitions and a responsive design – even on low-end devices.

If you already make devices that run Android, the work to adopt Ubuntu
will be minimal.

The response from this Thursday will be a deciding factor for whether Ubuntu for tablets and smartphones will gain momentum.

Valve Praises Linux as a Game Development Platform

Ubuntu Developer Summit is underway and there have been interesting announcements flowing in all throughout the summit. However, the most exciting announcement made at this USD is perhaps about gaming. Both Valve and Ubuntu are taking gaming on Linux seriously, and this might be the one factor that finally gets more people to use Ubuntu and more importantly, Linux.

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Valve has announced that the Steam client for Ubuntu will land sometime mid-November and it has already given beta access to attendees with a Launchpad account. This shows a high level of preparedness on part of Valve, and a vision from Valve’s Drew Bliss, who says,

Open platforms allowed Steam to exist. If we tried today, it probably wouldn’t be possible. We chose Ubuntu to start because of its broad user-base, strong community, and a strong company backing it in Canonical. Ubuntu was a simple choice to make.

If everything goes well, the Ubuntu platform will save Valve some valuable hours spent on performance tuning of games. Moreover, its openness and community-driven nature will also prove to be fruitful for Valve.

Steam Linux beta will have Team Fortress 2, Portal and Serious Sam 3 available.

The summit has started today, and it is a four-day event full of exciting announcements, especially on Ubuntu 13.04 and on Ubuntu as a game development platform. Head over to the UDS page to know about Ubuntu Developer Summit.

Ubuntu Ported To The Nexus 7

Canonical has been working on brining Ubuntu to Android devices and other form factors for quite sometime now. On Friday, Canonical’s Commercial Engineering Director, Victor Palau, uploaded a video on YouTube of Ubuntu running on the Google’s $199 tablet, the Nexus 7.

The Google-branded-ASUS-manufactured Nexus 7 packs in 1GB of RAM, a quad-core Tegra 3 SoC from Nvidia, Wi-Fi and a 7-inch screen despite its low price point.

The video above is pretty short (21 seconds) but shows the Nexus 7 running Ubuntu with Unity desktop interface without any issues.

Canonical will be unveiling more information about Ubuntu for the Nexus 7 at its upcoming Ubuntu Developer Summit in Copenhagen to be held later this year.

Via – Phoronix

Canonical Encourages Users to Donate for Ubuntu Development

Ubuntu has been around for seven years now, and it has seen its ups and downs, but it has been and will always be truly free and open source software. In a recent blog post, Canonical has announced that from now, it will be easier to donate for Ubuntu, as the donations screen is a part of the download process now. Some see this move as a shift in Ubuntu from being free software to becoming donationware.

Donationware is a licensing model that supplies operational unrestricted software to the user and requests an optional donation be paid to the programmer or a third-party beneficiary (usually a non-profit). The amount of the donation may also be stipulated by the author, or it may be left to the discretion of the user, based on individual perceptions of the software’s value.

However, the donations in this case are a lot more purposeful from being simple donations. One can choose the donation amount to be given to each of the Ubuntu features and future plans from Canonical. Currently, donations are accepted for the Ubuntu Desktop project, performance optimizations, hardware support, phone and tablet version of Ubuntu, better co-ordination with upstream, better support for Kubuntu, Lubuntu and other flavors and for Canonical. Currently, the donation page appears only for Ubuntu Desktop edition, but not for the Server or the Cloud Infrastructure downloads.

 

ubuntu-donation

Is there something wrong with this move or is it our skeptic human mind that is so resistive to change? I personally feel that Canonical has an engaging donation page here, and it will let Ubuntu fans and users choose the features and improvements they want to see next, in the world of Ubuntu.

(Via: Ars Technica)

Amazon Ads and Amazon Store Integration Coming in Ubuntu 12.10

Canonical is finally taking some serious steps towards monetization of the Ubuntu platform. Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro and is widely used by home users looking for an alternative to Windows. It has some serious revenue earning potential. The Firefox browser bundled with Ubuntu integrates Google search, which earns a major chunk of revenue for Canonical. Taking this monetization plan further, Ubuntu now wants to integrate affiliate plans from Amazon. Amazon offers an unmatched affiliate program and this will bolster Canonical’s revenue stream from Ubuntu. ubuntu_logo Olli Ries, the Director of Technology at Canonical has commented on a postat the Ubuntu Forum, saying,

Another addition is that we will be including Launcher web apps icons to Amazon and the Ubuntu One Music Store by default. We feel that these icons will provide convenient access to these resources for our users and also benefit the project with the generation of affiliate revenue in those cases that these resources are used.

The Ubuntu community is not very happy with this decision from Canonical, as this was announced after the feature freeze. People are already upset with Unity, and are increasingly shifting to a different desktop environment or a different flavor altogether. Canonical dominates Ubuntu and its development, and it has every right to make money from the distro it has worked so hard to create. For those that do not want the icon on their Unity dashboard, you can simply drag and drop it to the trashcan to remove it. However, Ubuntu has a close competitor in Linux Mint, without all the antics. It has to take wise decision to stay in the competition.

Gnome Comes Back to Ubuntu, a GNOMEbuntu Flavor Planned for the Next Release

Gnome is not in as bad a shape as we thought earlier. Recently, there have been talks of Ubuntu considering a Gnome only edition, like we have Kubuntu or Xubuntu. There is no evidence for this news, but it seems apparent from this Ubuntu forum thread. From what started as a simple question, the thread attracted lots of interested people, developers came together and pretty soon, they were found discussing names for this distro. A true community indeed! there is no fix on the name yet, and the name GNOMEbuntu was dropped recently, as the Gnome Foundation does not permit this naming scheme. The last choice is between GNObuntu and Gnubuntu.

gnome_logoPCWorld discusses the software package for this new distro, saying,

Along with Compiz, the new GNOME Ubuntu will reportedly use the Rhythmbox music player as well as the Epiphany browser, Evolution for e-mail and workgroup functions, the Abiword word processor, and the Gnumeric spreadsheet package. Neither Firefox nor LibreOffice will be preinstalled, according to the report.

While on one hand, Canonical is touting Unity, this community effort brings back Gnome, an environment that most Ubuntu users are familiar with. Nonetheless, the customization offered by Gnome is miles ahead of Unity, and this is something Unity will not be able to match for some days. The development team for ubuntu Gnome edition is already in place, and there are seven members already working on this. The next challenge for GNOMEbuntu was to join the official distro party at Canonical and it has made it! If everything goes well from here, we will definitely see a Gnome version of ubuntu 12.10, due to release in October.

Steam for Ubuntu is Coming Soon, This Time for Real

After years and years of rumors, Valve is finally taking the bold step of porting its Source engine to Linux. With this porting, you can also expect Linux to get steamy. Yes, the Steam client is showing its head on Linux too, and all this is happening on our favorite Linux flavor- Ubuntu. The announcement has been done in style with a blog post titled “Steam’d Penguins“, on Valves recently launched Linux Team blog.

Steam_LogoThe purpose of this blog is best explained as,

Our mission is to strengthen the gaming scene on Linux, both for players and developers. This includes Linux ports of Steam and Valve games, as well as partner games. We are also investigating open source initiatives that could benefit the community and game developers.

The first time we heard rumors of Source being ported to Linux was back in 2008, when Phoronix started reporting about it. The leaked Valve handbook showed the world how flat their management structure is. Years went by, and finally, the rumors started getting stronger this year. earlier in April, Valve’s Gabe Newell confirmed (to Phoronix, again) that there will indeed be a ported Source engine and a Steam client for Linux, and here we are!

Linux will prove to be a prospective platform for obvious reasons of openness. Although Valve is working on Steam for Ubuntu 12..04 currently, they also have plans for other Linux distros in near future. The flagship game to be ported to Linux will be Left 4 Dead 2, and it will run on OpenGL.

Finally, Linux will have its own native Valve games and its users will not have to deal with the idiosyncrasies of Wine or any other compatibility layer anymore. Last month, EA started betting big on Linux too, and their choice of distro too was ubuntu. It is good to see that Ubuntu is being seen as a platform of choice for pilot projects like these. Nonetheless, gaming on Linux too is entering a new era.