UDS Update – Firefox Remains As Default Browser and Deja Dup Might Be Included As Default

Today the Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu 11.10 has kicked off in Budapest, Hungary. It will be a while till we get a clear picture of what is in store for Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”. But we already have some interesting details.

Firefox will remain as the default browser

Despite all the talks in various blogs about the strong possibility of Chromium replacing Firefox as the default browser in Ubuntu 11.10, it has not happened.

One of the main advantage that Chromium has over Firefox in Ubuntu is that it is much faster than Firefox. This, coupled with the fact that Chromium has some nifty features that integrates it very well into Unity, are what prompted many to call for the inclusion of Chromium as default browser instead of Firefox.

However, Firefox still remains as the most popular web-browser (behind Internet Explorer). So, it makes sense for Ubuntu 11.10 to stick with Firefox as default. Moreover, Mozilla has recently announced that the Linux build of Firefox will be as fast as that of Windows.

Deja Dup might be included as default

This one has not been confirmed but backup tool Deja Dup is being considered for inclusion as a default application in Ubuntu 11.10. Currently Ubuntu does not ship with any backup tool and Deja Dup could be the front-runner if they do decide to have a backup tool by default.

Deja Dup can backup to the cloud and remote locations and encrypt the backups. However, the advantage that Deja Dup has over other backup tools lies in its simplicity. As Ubuntu is trying to gain widespread usage, this is a very important factor to consider.

Taking the final decision is however more complicated. Because of the CD size restriction of 700 MB, things like disks space is a very important consideration for any new application to be included as default.

[sources: 1, 2]

How To Setup And Use Memcached With WordPress

A few days ago, I spoke about the architecture that powers Techie Buzz. In that post, I had mentioned that memcached was one of our key ingredients.

Memcache is a powerful tool to share objects across servers and it is used by several big sites including , Yahoo and many more. The best part about using memcached on your server is that you can cut down on your database queries significantly and store commonly used objects in memory and share it across multiple servers.

If you use WordPress on a multi-server setup, you can easily cut down on DB queries by up-to 50% by implementing memcached. If you are interested in knowing how to implement memcached on your server, here is a tutorial. The assumption is that you are using Ubuntu, if not, the installation steps might change.

How To Install Memcached And Configure It

Step 1: Install memcached using the command given below

sudo apt-get install memcached

Step 2: After you have installed memcached you will have to configure it through a .conf file, to do that use the command given below

vi /etc/memcached.conf

Step 3: In the configuration file you will find few parameters, you can ignore the -d, -u and logfile parameters and leave it as default. However, change the -m, -p and -i parameters to suit your servers. The -m parameter specifies the memory that will be allocated to memcache. The -p parameter specifies the port that memcached will run on and the -l (ell) parameter specifies the IP address the memcached server will run on. You will need to change the -l (ell) parameter value from to a local or global IP address of your server. This is necessary because your memcached server will be accessed by outside servers and using will not work then.

Once you have done that run the following command.

service memcached restart or /etc/init.d/memcached restart

Using Memcached With WordPress

Once you have setup your memcached server, it is time to now setup WordPress to use memcached to store your objects. To do that, head over to http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/memcached/ and install the memcached plugin for WordPress. Unlike other plugins, you will have to drop this file into the wp-content directory and not the plugins directory.

You will have to install additional plugins for your server to make use of this plugin, namely PECL memcache extension which can be downloaded from http://pecl.php.net/package/memcache.

Now comes the part where you will actually tell WordPress to use memcached as an object storing mechanism. To do that, open the wp-config file and add the line below to it.

global $memcached_servers;
$memcached_servers = array(‘default’ => array(‘memcache-server-ip-or-name:11211′));

The array is used to define multiple memcached servers which can be used for your site. Please make sure to edit the name/ip of the server and the port before you save the file.

That’s it. Now just refresh your cache and WordPress should start storing the objects in memcache and will access your database very sparsely.  Do let me know if you have any problems or difficulties in setting this up through your comments.

Bonus Note: You can browse and manage your memcache server through a WordPress plugin called WP Memcached Manager which can be downloaded at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-memcached-manager/.

How To Use Ubuntu Font On Your Website or Webpage

The Ubuntu font was released last year in August to everyone and it was definitely one of the best looking fonts I have come across. I also use the Ubuntu font extensively on my PC thanks to this handy trick to install Ubuntu font on Windows.

Use Ubuntu Font on Websites

As I was redesigning the website to give a fresher look to it, I wanted to make use of the Ubuntu font for it. Unfortunately, it is not a web font yet modern web browsers won’t understand it.

However, you can use the Ubuntu font for your website or any webpage on the internet thanks to Google Web Fonts. In , you can also change the font of any website using a called Google Font Directory.

Ubuntu Font for Websites

To implement the Ubuntu font on your website or webpage, head over to this page and click on the link which says "Use this font". On this page you will find code and instructions to use the Ubuntu font on your website. Just copy over the code to your webpage and you can specify your font as "Ubuntu"

Google Web Fonts also has several other fonts which can be used on any websites or webpages, head over to http://www.google.com/webfonts to browse the entire collection.

P.S. Don’t forget to tell me what you think of the new Techie Buzz design.

How To Change The Icon Size In The Unity Launcher

The Unity Launcher

If you have used Unity in Ubuntu 11.04, you would have noticed the large icons in the Unity launcher. The large icons are a good in larger screens since it makes it easier for the cursor to target it. But on smaller screens, like on netbooks, it could be too large and get in the way. If you want to decrease the icon size in Unity, you will be glad to know that you can do it rather easily.

Unity is basically a plugin for Compiz. So, to customize Unity, you need to install the CompizConfig Settings Manager (not that there are many  aspects of Unity that you can customize). To install CompizConfig Settings Manager, open the Terminal and execute the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

After installing, open the CompizConfig Settings Manager and look for Ubuntu Unity Plugin under Desktop.

Now go to the tab “Experimental” and you will find a slider for Launcher icon size. The default Launcher icon size is 48px. Change it to the size you desire. After changing it, close CompizConfig Settings manager. The icon size in the launcher will be the size you desire.

You can also make the panel transparent, if you want from the Experimental tab. To do it just adjust the slider – 0 means completely transparent and 1 means completely opaque. By default the panel transparency is set to 1.

Three Alternatives To Unity For Ubuntu 11.04

A couple of days back, Ubuntu 11.04 was released. As expected it had the new Unity user interface. Unity has divided the Ubuntu users into two groups – those who like it and those who hate it.

In all fairness, Unity is a good concept but it does not look like it is ready for prime time. But this is Linux and open-source software that we are talking about here – there are alternatives. In this post, we will list three alternatives you can try if you do not like Unity.

1. Classic GNOME Desktop

Although Unity is the default user interface in Ubuntu 11.04, the classic GNOME desktop is still available. It comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 11.04 – but it is only used as a fall-back in case the hardware does not support 3D acceleration. If you are one of those who does not like the design principle of Unity and want to stick with the old and trusted interface of old, this is what you must use.

To use the Classic GNOME Desktop, make sure that your system is not set to log you in automatically. To do that open Login Screen and make sure that “Login as <name> automatically” is not selected.

After that log off and in the login screen, you will find Ubuntu Classic in a drop down menu. Select that and login. You will get the familiar GNOME desktop now.

2. Unity 2D

If you like the design of Unity but cannot use Unity, you might want to take a look at Unity 2D. You might be unable to use Unity because either your hardware is old (and does not support 3D acceleration) or your hardware has problems with Compiz (many ATI graphics cards has problems with Compiz).

Unity 2D has basically the same features and look as Unity. The main difference is that Unity 2D has been developed using Qt while Unity runs as a Compiz plugin. Even when the hardware supports Unity, I find that Unity 2D is much faster.

Unlike the Classic GNOME Desktop, Unity 2D is not installed by default in Ubuntu 11.04. But it is available in the Ubuntu repository. So, to install it open the Terminal and execute the commands below:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install unity-2d

Once you have installed it, log off and in the login you should see Unity 2D listed like in the case of Classic GNOME desktop above. Installing Unity 2D does not affect Unity at all and you can have both installed in the same system.

3. Another Desktop Environment

If you absolutely do not like Unity at all, both the design and the implementation, switching to another desktop environment is another thing that you have to consider. Yes, you can still use Classic GNOME desktop but by the next release, that too will not be available.

Switching to another desktop environment does not mean that your favorite Gtk applications will not work. As long as you still have GNOME installed in your system, they will run even if you are using another DE.

There are two major desktop environments that you might want to consider – KDE SC and Xfce.

While many might argue that KDE is no longer as good as it was when they made the transition to KDE SC 4.x, it cannot be denied that the latest version – KDE SC 4.6 – is a huge improvement. Long time users of GNOME might feel a bit lost in KDE SC though.

Note: KDE SC requires more system resources than GNOME.

You can install KDE SC in Ubuntu 11.04 with the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Xfce is a desktop environment that has been becoming very popular recently. It is a very light desktop environment and should run excellently on even old systems. Xfce is a little closer to GNOME than KDE SC.

You can install Xfce in Ubuntu 11.04 with the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install xubuntu-desktop

What Are Mac & Windows Users Saying About Unity?

When Ubuntu 11.04 was announced, one of the announcements which sent shockwaves was the fact that Ubuntu would no longer have Gnome as the default Desktop Environment, instead settling for Unity. Last week, Canonical’s User Experience Lead Charline Poirier  ran a user experience test of Unity.


The user test sample size was rather small ( spread over 11 people) and comprised mainly of Windows and Mac users.  Each of the users were given a  Lenovo ThinkPad T410i running Ubuntu Natty (11.04) with unity 3.8.2-0ubuntu1 and asked to perform several tasks. After analysing the results, here’s what they found:

  • Everyone understood most of the launcher items, the indicator icons, used Firefox to check their mail, launched LibreOffice Writer to write a letter and found and opened an existing document.
  • Only about half the participants could easily rearrange the items in the launcher, figured out how to change the background wallpaper and were about to find and launch a game that was not present in the launcher
  • Few participants though that LibreOffice Calc is a calculator, the Me Menu icon as the close close button.
  • Two people were asked to play MP3 songs on a USB key, but none of them were actually able to accomplish the task
  • Nobody understood what Ubuntu One was. ( Ubuntu One is Canonical’s online data storage and file sync application)

During this test, the participants found some unexpected bugs:

  • About half the participants crashed Ubunty within an hour of their testing, and on double clicking Applications/Files& Folders resulted in screen flicker with no other effects.
  • None of the participants were able to understand the Intention of the Ubuntu button

The user feedback was quite positive – most found Unity very nice, clean, easy way to get their documents. Some of the participants did wish that some settings and a way to find out their hardware info placement could be a lot more prominent.

What’re your thoughts on Unity? Do you like it? Or will you go back to classic Gnome? Do drop in a comment and let us know!


Ubuntu Loses the Free CD Program, Download Works Better Anyway

Canonical is pushing one game changing update after another from the last month. First, we heard of the Unity desktop and now, Canonical is ending the free CD program from Shipit. You can still order a CD if you want, but you have to pay for it. Canonical has been providing free CDs to people all over the world until now. However, with advancements in Internet speeds and the penetration of Internet, the free CD program based on snail-mail has lost its need.


Five years of free CD distribution ends with the next release of Ubuntu and this can save Canonical considerable costs of shipping. Moreover, there were people who collected Ubuntu CDs as trophies abused the free shipment system. However, their actual purpose was to make Ubuntu accessible to people with slow Internet connections. Network World announces this as,

All good things must come to an end, including free Ubuntu CDs via Canonical’s ShipIt program. Though a major factor in Ubuntu’s success, Canonical is cutting costs and closing the doors on the free CD program it has sponsored since 2005.

For those using Linux for daily home purposes, Ubuntu is the easiest to use Linux distro and has been forked off to other simpler distros like Mint. Ubuntu is already a winner and it does not need the free CD program it once used to get attention of people. Sun Microsystems also started a free CD program for their OpenSolaris distro and it ended soon.

Ubuntu 11.10 Will Not Have The GNOME Classic Desktop

As the date for the final release of Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” is approaching, there are still a lots of questions about the new UI – Unity – that it will come with. However, the good thing is that users who do not like Unity or whose hardware does not support Unity (right now there are reports of problems with ATI graphics card) can fall back to the classic GNOME desktop.

However, six months later when it is time for Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”, that may not be the case. Replying to a bug report, Mark Shuttleworth has mentioned that classic GNOME desktop fallback will not be available in Ubuntu 11.10.

This is what he wrote:

We made very good progress on a11y in Natty, but will miss the goal of  perfect a11y. We’ll nail it in Oneiric. That’s OK, because we have the  Classic desktop fallback in Natty, but will not in Oneiric.

This decision will most likely be met with mixed reaction from users and a lot will depend on how Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 feels like. Having used Unity from the  development  version of Ubuntu 11.04, I feel that it still has a lot rough edges that needs some more works. That is however not a very big concern in Natty since I can revert to the classic desktop. However, since the classic desktop will be removed in Ubuntu 11.10, Canonical has to make sure that the Unity experience is as smooth as possible.

Since a lot of people use Ubuntu on older hardware, there is also the problem of if Unity will run on them or not. Unity requires Compiz and, so, not all the old hardware will be able to run it. In such cases, I think Unity 2D will be used as  fall-back, although nothing has been  said  officialy. Unity 2D is based on Qt and does not require  hardware  acceleration. This means that it should run on hardware which cannot run the normal Unity (Unity 3D). Mark Shuttleworth has recently mentioned that they plan to include Qt applications in future  release  of Ubuntu, this might be it.

[via Novatillasku]

TeamViewer – Best Desktop Sharing App for Linux

Have you ever had to help someone with their computer over the phone or using text chat? It’s not easy. You can’t be sure that they are in the right place, doing what you want them to do. That’s why remote desktop (screen) sharing applications are so great.

These applications are called by a variety of names such as, remote access, remote support, remote desktop, screen sharing, and desktop sharing. The main idea behind them is that they allow one computer to see another computer’s screen over a network or the internet.

My wife and I have many friends and relatives that come to us for PC help and advice. We’ve used a number of desktop sharing apps over the years and discovered that TeamViewer is one of the best, and it’s free!

Since I’ve been spending a lot of time using Linux lately, I was happy to find that TeamViewer is also available for Linux, as well as Windows, Mac and Smartphones. It’s almost as good as being there, because I can control the remote computer as if I were sitting directly in front of it. When I need to, I can change the direction to show my PC’s screen to the other person. It even makes it easy to share files with the person on the other end.

This image below shows how simple it is to set up. (click image to enlarge it)

How to Install Firefox 4 in Ubuntu Linux

Earlier today, we reported that Firefox 4 has just been released. Why do you need instructions to install the newest Firefox in Ubuntu? If you go into your Ubuntu Software Center, you’ll see that you more than likely have Firefox 3.6 installed, and it’s “up to date”. Naturally, they don’t add programs to the Software Center as soon as they are released. That would be foolish if there was something wrong with the new version. I don’t blame them for waiting at least a few days for the adventure seekers to provide some feedback.

There are three ways that I know of to add the newest Firefox to Ubuntu.

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