Tag Archives: Ubuntu

Sputnik Program Taking Beta Testers for the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with Ubuntu

Ubuntu fans are going to have a gala time ahead of them, and even more so, if you are a developer. Dell is planning to bring in the Ubuntu experience to laptops, and it wants to do things in the proper way. That is why, Dell has a beta-testing program in place for the Dell XPS 13 Ultraboook, with Ubuntu pre-installed. This beta testing program is called Sputnik, and it might send Dell sales skyrocketing through the laptop market for two reasons: cheaper prices and free software.

dell-sputnik-ubuntu

The page announcing the Sputnik Beta testing program reads,

Be a test pilot for the ultimate developer laptop.

Dell is now recruiting volunteers for the Sputnik Beta Cosmonaut program. A limited number of applicants will be selected to receive a discounted, beta version solution (Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook with Ubuntu 12.04LTS).

With your help, we are confident that this new Ubuntu Linux-based laptop will become the ultimate mobile tool for developers.

The registration form can be found on this page. It takes some personal details along with company details. One promising development is that the program is open for developers all over the world, and not just for those in the US.

Dell has tried selling Linux based laptops earlier though every time, the laptops just vanished from their website without so much as a pop. However, this time, Dell seems serious about the Ultrabook, and is off to a good start. This test will help Dell estimate how well Ubuntu based laptops are received by the developer community worldwide. It might create newer range of Dell products, and give Linux the much needed consumer-market exposure it has always deserved. Nonetheless, it will strengthen the Ubuntu ecosystem, with more developers interested in being a part of this revolution.

Ubuntu Sees Growing Adoption from OEMs, Will Capture 5% of the PC Market Next Year

At the ongoing Ubuntu 12.10 developer summit, Chris Kenyon, the VP of sales and business development at Canonical has unveiled Ubuntu’s ambitious expansion plans in the PC market. Ubuntu is already collaborating with OEMs to deliver Ubuntu Linux based machines. However, the good news is that the Ubuntu is looking forward to a 5% market share in the PC segment.

The advantage of buying a system with Ubuntu or any Linux flavor pre-loaded is eliminating the time spent in initial-configuration of display drivers, network components and syncing across monitors. These are common bummers, when we try to replace a new Windows box with Linux. However, Ubuntu has an extensive list of supported hardware, and this OEM deal will make the hardware support even better.

Phoronix lists some interesting points from Kenyon’s keynote speech.
ubuntu-developer-summit

Here’s some of the facts that Kenyon tossed out in his after-lunch keynote:

– Eight to ten million units shipped last year world-wide.

– Canonical will be opening their first Beijing office this year (their Taipei office right now handles most of their Asian operations since 2008).

– Last year Ubuntu shipped on 7.5 billion dollars (presumably USD) worth of hardware.

– Next year they expect to more than double these numbers to 18 million units world-wide, or what Chris says would be 5% of PCs shipping world-wide would be with Ubuntu Linux.

Finally, after years of vendor lock-in, the PC has finally been freed from its shackles. We hope to see an open hardware market, where the end-user has more choices and there are more than one prominent software development ecosystems.

The Ubuntu Developer Summit is taking place from 7th of this month and will continue until the 11th. The complete event schedule can be found here. The events to watch out for, include the one titled Next Steps for Hadoop on UbuntuApp Developer EventsUbuntu Mobile Use-cases and all events that focus on Ubuntu TV.

Shuttleworth Highlights the Growth of Ubuntu in the Enterprise Server Business

For years, the Enterprise Server business has been dominated by Linux distributions. Debian and CentOS are the most popular of these distributions with 9.8 and 9.1 percent of total market share, respectively. However, over the past year, Ubuntu has been rising in popularity to threaten Red Hat’s position as the third most popular Linux distribution for servers.

Ubuntu is preferred on the server because of its LTS releases, which are supported with updates for long years. Moreover, it has a large base of zealots who participate closely in the state of affairs. This gives Ubuntu servers excellent hardware support, security, timely updates and ease of installation.

However, Shuttleworth attributes the growth of Ubuntu Server business to the enhanced focus on quality.

The key driver of this has been that we added quality as a top-level goal across the teams that build Ubuntu – both Canonical’s and the community’s. We also have retained the focus on keeping the up-to-date tools available on Ubuntu for developers, and on delivering a great experience in the cloud, where computing is headed.

ubuntu-rhel
However, the data referred by Shuttleworth in his blog post cannot be taken at face value. The graph that Shuttleworth used to bolster his claims was derived from public websites as a whole and not just enterprise business. Nonetheless, Red Hat has based a billion dollar business around this business of enterprise servers, and the slightest hint that Canonical is about to overtake Red Hat with Ubuntu can shake things up in the world of Linux based server distros.

Canonical Shows Off Ubuntu for Android at MWC

Just last week, we reported Canonical’s announcement of Ubuntu for Android. MWC has recently showcased Ubuntu for Android at MWC, and it is impressive with some great tricks up its sleeves. Initially, it might look like a desktop remote control for your Android phone, but there are innumerable features and behind-the-scene events that will change this outlook soon.
ubuntu-for-android
Ubuntu for Android shows all our Android applications, contacts and calls in a Unity style application dashboard. It also lets us read and write text messages remotely, from the desktop. All this is facilitated with a custom Linux kernel, and this custom kernel will let us run Android and Ubuntu in parallel. Once we plug our computer into the dock, it will automatically switch to Ubuntu. However, the part that impressed me was where Phil from Android Central tells us that we can use this phone as a thin-client to connect to an application server and demoed it by launching MS PowerPoint from a Windows 7 server.

Mark Shuttleworth announced the plan of Ubuntu for Android, saying,

We’ll show Ubuntu neatly integrated into Android at Mobile World Congress next week. Carry just the phone, and connect it to any monitor to get a full Ubuntu desktop with all the native apps you want, running on the same device at the same time as Android. Magic. Everything important is shared across the desktop and the phone in real time.

Although the feature was showcased at MWC, it is not ready for a public release yet. The release declaration of this year-end still holds. There is a long wait before we can go ahead and use Ubuntu for Android. Until then, this hands-on review from Android Central will keep us interested.

Canonical to Reveal Its Ambitious Plan of Ubuntu for Android at MWC Next Week

Canonical has been aggressive about Ubuntu lately, and wants to push it to every upcoming platform. Currently, Ubuntu can be found on desktops, servers and as recently showcased Ubuntu TV. However, Ubuntu can reach out to a potentially unexplored customer base as a true Linux experience provider in a new avenue. The mobile space has been untouched by Ubuntu, and it is finally planning to step in to this platform.
canonical-ubuntu-android
Canonical teases us with this message on the Ubuntu for Android page.

In every dual-core
phone, there’s
a PC trying
to get out.

From the page, it looks you can simply put your Android phone in a dock, and connect it to a television. Certified business apps from Adobe and Cirtix make this product ready for the enterprise sector too. Moreover, Android and Ubuntu share the same Linux kernel, allowing users to switch between the world’s most popular Linux distro, and the world’s most popular open mobile platform. Canonical has worked extensively with ARM support and this integration of Android and Ubuntu will result in a wonderful synergy.

Mark Shuttleworth announces the plan on his blog writing,

We’ll show Ubuntu neatly integrated into Android at Mobile World Congress next week. Carry just the phone, and connect it to any monitor to get a full Ubuntu desktop with all the native apps you want, running on the same device at the same time as Android. Magic. Everything important is shared across the desktop and the phone in real time.

This product is targeted at high-end mobiles HDMI and USB support. Ubuntu One allows for synchronization across devices and all these great features might create what Canonical calls a “new peripheral ecosystem”.

How to Install VLC 2.0 in Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot


The VideoLAN Project released version 2 of their popular media player, VLC,  couple of days ago. And for most operating systems, the updated version is already available. The Ubuntu Store, however, is yet to feature the updated package. If you can’t wait for VLC to be updated, you can get the latest version easily by following the below steps.

First, open the terminal by summoning Unity dash. You can do that by clicking on the Ubuntu icon on the top-left corner of your screen. For the keyboard inclined, pressing Super(aka the Windows key) should summon Unity dash.

Unity Dash

Now, type in Terminal and click on the Terminal to launch it

Unity terminal

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:videolan/stable-daily

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install vlc

The first command creates an apt repo pointing to VLC’s stable builds. The second commands instructs apt-get to fetch the latest set of packages. The last command will install VLC. If all goes well, you should be seeing VLC under Media Apps in Unity.

VLC Entry in Unity Dash

Do drop a comment if you need some help in installing VLC in Ubuntu.

Wayland is Heading Towards its First Stable Release

If you have not heard of Wayland until today, it is because Wayland has not had any public release of their display protocol. Wayland has been available at its Git repository for anyone to try it out, though finally, it will get the public release of its first version 1.0, after four years of development.

Wayland has been of special interest for many Linux enthusiasts, as it is a perfect replacement for the X Window System. The Wikipedia article on Wayland explains it in simpler language.

Wayland provides a method for compositing window managers to communicate directly with applications and to communicate directly with video and input hardware. Applications render graphics to their own buffers, and the window manager becomes the display server, compositing those buffers to form the on-screen display of application windows. This is a simpler and more efficient approach than using a compositing window manager with the X Window System.

Wayland will provide an excellent alternative for those who loath the X Window System. Fedora and Ubuntu are the two major Linux distros, which have always been interested in Wayland, and they will replace X with Wayland at the first chance. The Tizen project is also looking forward to using Wayland.


Kristian Høgsberg is the founder of Wayland, which is released under the MIT license. You can read this interview of Kristian Høgsberg for this coming FOSDEM. Wayland will be announced and released at this FOSDEM 2012, to be held in a few days.

Ubuntu Tries to Do Away with Menus, Enter Heads Up Display, or HUD

Over the last few years, Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth have become extremely innovative about User Experience (UX). Ubuntu really has some UX experts in its team, and the kind of things that have been coming out of Canonical for the last few months shout out loud that Canonical is putting them to good use. The recent UX change for Ubuntu is “Heads Up Display” or HUD, and it surely looks like a good feature.

Heads Up Display, or HUD is a new way of interacting with applications, where you do not go through multiple menu hierarchies to reach a menu item. Instead, you simply type it and HUD will search it for you, in live. Moreover, HUD remembers what you typed last and prioritizes those commands in search results, so is also very fast for common tasks. It bridges the gap between the command line interface and application menus, and does it wonderfully.

As mentioned by Olli Ries in a blog post, who was once the Principal Director of engineering at Novell, and is one of the Product Strategy Engineering Managers at Canonical presently, plans for HUD were underway even before the last Ubuntu Developer Summit.

Ubuntu TV- TV for Human Beings, Revealed at CES 2012

Canonical has recently revealed a concept for a fully featured TV application, based on Ubuntu. It is known as the Ubuntu TV, and has been revealed at CES 2012. Ubuntu TV competes directly with Google TV in its attempt to redefine the entertainment experience on television. It has some amazing features and the first commercial appearance of the TV is expected by the end of this year.

From the CEO’s Desk

In an interview with PC Pro, Canonical CEO Jane Silber says,

It is a simple viewing experience for online video, both your own and routed over the internet. OEMs and ODMs are increasingly wary of the walled garden [approach] that certainly Apple takes – and increasingly Google, although it is much more open than Apple. We see a lot of demand for a neutral player.

Jane Silber knows Canonical is up against Google and Apple with this technology, and therefore, it are offering the software free of charge to gain a competitive edge. The source code for Ubuntu TV will be released later today, allowing developers to customize and modify it, as they want. Jane Silber takes pride in saying “Ubuntu TV will provide viewers with a neutral player”.

Overview

Ubuntu TV will let you stream media content like music, videos an photos from your PC to your TV. You can search, watch, record and play streaming videos. It will also allow media sharing with portable devices using Ubuntu One. You can also share your screen with tablets and smartphones. Like the Software Center in Ubuntu, Ubuntu TV will have an online store where developers can submit their apps for Ubuntu TV. Besides, the application will be controlled with a smartphone or with a TV remote.

Ubuntu TV for Content Providers and Hardware manufacturer

Canonical is calling the technology a Smart TV. Canonical will need to partner with OEMs to enter into production with this new product. This can be an excellent deal for TV manufacturers, now that global content distribution rules, OS development and software engineering  will be handled by Canonical completely.

Verdict

This is Canonical’s first attempt to move beyond the PC. However, this technology of  smart TV has only seen sluggish growth so far, and there is definitely something wrong with the feeble attempts that everyone is making at enriching our TV viewing experience. In spite of a strong marketing force, Google TV has not reached many houses yet.

Initial markets of interest for this product will be the US and China. Canonical plans to extend it to the UK later. However, these markets will prove to be profitable only when Canonical makes local-content deals.

Patches for Several Firefox Security Vulnerabilities Appear in Launchpad

A few days ago, several medium and low priority security-related bugs were handled for Firefox and many other Mozilla applications. These bugs affected all versions of Firefox from version 4, and all versions of Thunderbird from version 5. All patches for all these bugs were added to Launchpad.

While some of these attacks caused the application to crash, others would allow execution of arbitrary code through JavaScript. As Ubuntu’s LTS releases are supported for long periods, fixes for these bugs were released for Ubuntu 8.04, and also for Ubuntu 10.04, Ubuntu 10.10, Ubuntu 11.04 and Ubuntu 11.10.

The Ubuntu Security Notice on this page lists down all the vulnerabilities that were addressed with updated Launchpad patches.

Alexandre Poirot, Chris Blizzard, Kyle Huey, Scoobidiver, Christian Holler,
David Baron, Gary Kwong, Jim Blandy, Bob Clary, Jesse Ruderman, Marcia
Knous, and Rober Longson discovered several memory safety issues, which
could possibly be exploited to crash Firefox or execute arbitrary code as
the user that invoked Firefox. (CVE-2011-3660)

Aki Helin discovered a crash in the YARR regular expression library that
could be triggered by JavaScript in web content. (CVE-2011-3661)

It was discovered that a flaw in the Mozilla SVG implementation could
result in an out-of-bounds memory access if SVG elements were removed
during a DOMAttrModified event handler. An attacker could potentially
exploit this vulnerability to crash Firefox. (CVE-2011-3658)

Mario Heiderich discovered it was possible to use SVG animation accessKey
events to detect key strokes even when JavaScript was disabled. A malicious
web page could potentially exploit this to trick a user into interacting
with a prompt thinking it came from the browser in a context where the user
believed scripting was disabled. (CVE-2011-3663)

It was discovered that it was possible to crash Firefox when scaling an OGG
<video> element to extreme sizes. (CVE-2011-3665)

You can find more about these vulnerabilities in the Ubuntu CVE tracker with the numbers 3658, 3660, 3661, 3663 and 3665. For Ubuntu 11.10 users, a Firefox 9 patch is available at this link. Alternatively, you can update your system with the latest version of all packages. Once the update is done, do not forget to restart Firefox, to apply the patch.