Whats New In Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat Alpha 3

The Ubuntu Release Team has just announced the release of third alpha of Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat. This is an alpha release and, hence, is not meant for daily usage. It is meant for testing by developers and interested users.

This is what Martin Pitt from the Ubuntu Release Team wrote announcing the release:

Alpha 3 is the third in a series of milestone CD images that will be released throughout the Maverick development cycle. The Alpha images are known to be reasonably free of showstopper CD build or installer bugs, while representing a very recent snapshot of Maverick.

The third alpha brings a lot of new changes/features. Here are some:

Linux Kernel 2.6.35

Ubuntu 10.10 Alpha 3 uses the Linux Kernel 2.6.35. This kernel includes a lot of security enhancements over the previous kernels. It also has some interesting new features like support for Apple’s Magic Mouse and faster packet transmission.

Ubuntu Software Center

The Ubuntu Software Center has undergone some changes. The main page now shows “Featured” applications and also has a “Whats New” section. It also supports plugins now.

Ubuntu Netbook Edition

The Ubuntu Netbook Edition now uses the Unity interface by default. Global menu also makes an appearance.


In Kubuntu, KDE SC 4.5 RC is used for this release. As expected, the default browser has also been changed to rekonq.


If you want to try it out here is the download link: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/maverick/alpha-3/

If you would like to upgrade from Ubuntu 10.04 directly (not recommended!), open the terminal, execute the command below and follow the on-screen instructions.

update-manager -d

The final release is scheduled for 10th October 2010.

Firefox Edges Out Chromium – Will Remain Default Browser In Ubuntu Netbook Edition

In the last Ubuntu Developer Summit, it was decided that Chromiun will be the default web-browser in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. It was not the final decision, the final decision was left till Alpha 3 and they started shipping Ubuntu Netbook Edition with Chromium as the default browser in the Alpha 1 and Alpha 2.

Now that the Alpha 3 is approaching, Jorge Castro has confirmed that Chromium will not be used as the default web-browser in Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10. They have decided to stick with Firefox for Maverick,  at-least.

This is what Jorge wrote to the Ubuntu Mailing List:

This is a follow up status report from the Chromium-by-default-on-UNE discussion at UDS. The desktop team have decided to stick with Firefox for UNE for 10.10, however Chromium is moving into main. Here are the critical blockers:

  • We don’t have a plugin installer, ie. if you go to a Flash site it sends you to Adobe’s webpage instead of just installing the plugin.
  • No langpacks or translations support in lp so we can’t translate Chromium, we have to depend on upstream to do it in one huge thing. :(
  • Doing all the xulrunner packaging changes in order to get the CD size down AND switching to chromium in one cycle is currently not feasible with the people we currently have.

Jorge says that they want to switch to Chromium but right now there are simply too many issues with having Chromium by default. One problem is the disk space – Chromium is about twice the size of Firefox. Another problem is the release of security updates. With Firefox, the Ubuntu developers get around 1-2 weeks to test new security updates. However, with Chromium it is a bit different – they just release them once they have fixed it without giving the Ubuntu developers time to test it.

Chromium will still be available in the repository though.

New Ubuntu Fonts Available For Everyone

The new Ubuntu fonts were actually supposed to be available for public beta on August 8th. However, WebUpd8 reports that it is already available to users who are part of the ~kubuntu-users team in Launchpad – and anyone can join this team. You do not have to be a Kubuntu user to join it.  So, this means that the fonts are available to practically everyone who does not mind going through the few extra steps required to get it.

This is the email to the kubuntu-users mailing list announcing it:

Members of the ~kubuntu-users team on launchpad can now test out the Ubuntu Font which is currently in beta testing. Anyone can join this team.
We are considering setting this as the default screen font in 10.10, opinions welcome but please include a rationale with your opinion, artwork is very easy to criticize but is hard to criticize well.

So, here is what you need to do:

Note: You need to have a Launchpad account to do this.

Or, if you would rather not go through all these, wait for a few days. The fonts will be available for public beta on August 8th, and you can add the PPA through the normal way, without going through all these private PPA stuff.

New GNOME Shell Mockup Looks Good – But Is It Better?

Yesterday it was announced that  GNOME 3.0 is delayed till next year. The extra time has given the Shell Developers some more time to play around with new concepts and they have come up a new mockup. Here are the new mockups:

This new mockup, no doubt, looks a lot better than the current Shell interface. Currently Shell is very clunky and very unusable in my opinion.

However, the new mockup still looks like it will be workflow nightmare. In the second picture, it looks like you have to click on the Windows tab to see the open windows. (Someone correct me If I am wrong.) This step unnecessarily requires two or possibly more clicks for something that can be done with just one right now.

And is it just me or does anyone else notice a strong resemblance to the Jolicloud user interface?

Another thing that I cannot understand is the huge application icons. In devices with small screen, the kind which Jolicloud and Ubuntu Netbook Edition are intended for, large icons can be useful. But GNOME Shell is not intended only for devices with small screen. I think that using this interface on a large monitor will be a real pain.

I tested GNOME Shell way back when it was very new and was not impressed by it then. I tested it again last month and still did not like it. This mockup looks good, no doubt, but it still feels unusable to me and it seems they have not resolved the workflow issue which many have been pointing out since Shell became available.

What do you think? Let us know.

[image credit: WebUpd8]

New Gwibber Mock-Up Aims To Unclutter It

Gwibber is the microblogging client that is included with Ubuntu 10.04 by default. It is much more than just a simple microblogging client, as the number of services it supports is unprecedented. And this is what creates a problem for Gwibber – its interface is too complex and looks too cluttered.

Neil Patel has come up with a very interesting mock-up which may solve this problem. Neil Patel is the Technical Lead Ubuntu Netbook Edition and Unity, Desktop Experience Team, Canonical Ltd. According to Patel, these are the main challenges that Gwibber faces:

  1. Support multiple accounts from different services, presenting the information in one stream to the user.
  2. Be able to filter the main view to one account (i.e. choosing to only see Twitter-related material in the views).
  3. Integrate into many different desktops, but still try to have its own identity.

So, to improve the user experience in Gwibber, he has burrowed some ideas from other microblogging clients on other platforms, and came up with these:

As amazing as this mock-up are, there has been no words on if it will actually be implemented. However, I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Dell Drops Ubuntu From Their UK Website

A few days back, Dell put up a webpage which was meant to help buyers choose between Windows and Ubuntu, but it ended up confusing everyone.

Now, Dell have decided to take another bizarre decision by removing Ubuntu PC and laptops from their UK website. Dell Latitude 2100 is the only result that the website returns when you search for Ubuntu.

According to PC Pro, Dell insists that they still offer Ubuntu system – it is just that it is only available through their phone-based sale. Dell says that they have removed the Ubuntu offerings since they are making some changes to the Ubuntu page. However, they did not confirm if or when the Ubuntu page will be back.

Dell also cited the lack of customer interest towards Ubuntu as a reason for not putting Ubuntu in their main page. This is what a Dell spokesperson told PC Pro:

The reason why they’re not on our main pages is because Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts, and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed.

When Dell themselves are saying that Ubuntu is for open-source developers, it is no surprise that people choose not to buy the Ubuntu systems.

The Ubuntu systems are, however, still available in Dell’s US and India specific website.

Ubuntu 10.10 To Make Sharing Your Favorite Song A Breeze

The Ubuntu One Music Store in Rythmbox is getting a new feature, which will enable you to easily share your favorite song in Twitter, and hopefully help Canonical make some cash in the process. This feature make its  appearance  in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, which is scheduled to be released this October.

In Ubuntu 10.10, Rythmbox is getting a new “Link Share” button. If you want to share the song you are listening to with others, all you have to do is click on the “Link Share”. A quick search for the track will be performed in the 7Digital catalog. (7Digital is the company behind the Ubuntu One Music Store.) If the track is found, you will be presented with the link to the track and a “Tweet this link” button. Clicking the “Tweet this link” button will send the message to Gwibber, from where you can tweet it.

When someone click on the link in Twitter, he will be presented with the option to buy the track. Of course, he need to be on Ubuntu and have an Ubuntu One account to purchase.

What do you think about this feature? Will you use it?

[source: OMG!UBUNTU!]

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.

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: