Motorola Atrix 4G Now Runs A Full Blown Linux Distro – Ubuntu

After the launch of the highly successful Motorola Droid, Motorola started shipping its phones with locked down bootloader. These highly locked down bootloader severely restricted the modding capabilities of Moto phones.

One of the most talked about phones this year the Motorola Atrix 4G also ships with a highly locked down bootloader. However, the highly talented developers at XDA managed to get root access to the phone system’s partition in quick time.

In fact, at the moment many Custom ROMs are also out for the Atrix (They are not AOSP based, though).

Motorola_Atrix_4G

Now, another awesome developer Sogarth has got a full-blown Linux distro, Ubuntu, up and running on the Atrix 4G. This mod is obviously not meant for the faint hearted, and newbie Atrix owners are highly recommended to stay away.

Possibilities of bricking your beloved Atrix or putting it into an infinite reboot loop are also very much possible.  As usual with these mods, a few caveats do exist like installing certain packages can break the Ubuntu installation etc.

The highly complicated steps of installing Ubuntu on the Motorola Atrix 4G can be found here.

Thunderbird To Get Ubuntu One Integration

Yesterday we wrote about Thunderbird being integrated to Ubuntu’s new user interface, Unity. However Thunderbird’s integration into Ubuntu is not about to end at that.

Today Mike Conley, the same person who developed the Unity integration, has said that the next step after Thunderbird Unity Launcher is to get Ubuntu One Contact integration in Thunderbird.

Ubuntu One is a cloud storage service launched by Canonical for Ubuntu users. The service allows users to sync files, contacts etc. across different computers running Ubuntu. Canonical provides the service for free for upto 2GB of storage.

Currently contact sharing through Ubuntu One is supported only in Evolution, which comes as the default email client in Ubuntu. Mike Conley plans to bring this feature in Thunderbird as well.

This is what he wrote:

That’s a pretty cool idea. Imagine it you get a brand new computer, hook it up to Ubuntu One, and blam: all of your bookmarks and contacts are already there waiting for you.

Currently, however, Thunderbird does not support sharing contacts via Ubuntu One.

And that’s what I’m tackling next.

According to Conley, the plan is to develop an extension which can import the Ubuntu One Contact to a new address book in Thunderbird. This will ensure that contact list from Evolution also appear in Thunderbird as well. Not only that, when you do a clean install of Ubuntu, it will enable you to get back your contact list from your previous installation.To keep things simple at the start, Conley is not planning to allow adding of new contacts from Thunderbird to the Ubuntu One Contact. This feature will probably be added once the contact import feature is done.

With the Unity launcher integration and, now, the Ubuntu One integration, it looks like Thunderbird in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal is going to be very impressive.

If both these features make it to Thunderbird in time, which email client would you prefer – Thunderbird or Evolution?

Thunderbird Gets Unity Integration

Ubuntu is getting a brand new user interface, called Unity, in its next release – Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal”. As you are probably aware, Ubuntu uses Evolution as the default email client, and so Thunderbird integration for Unity is not a priority for Canonical. However, Mike Conley of Mozilla has been hard at work coming up with a way to integrate Thunderbird into the Unity Launcher and he has just released the first Thunderbird extension that does just that for testing .

The Thunderbird Unity Launcher extension provides a really cool integration of Thunderbird into Ubuntu’s Unity launcher. With the extension installed, the number of new unread messages in Thunderbird is displayed at the top-left of the Thunderbird icon in the launcher. Not only that, right clicking on the Thunderbird icon brings up a context menu item. From the context menu, users can easily open the contact list or compose a new email.

Since this is only for testing now, this feature is  available  in the form of a Thunderbird add-on. To test this feature users need to be running the 32-bit version of Ubuntu 11.04. There are no 64-bit builds available now. However, after the testing this feature will be integrated into Thunderbird and will be available to users of 64-bit versions of Ubuntu as well.

To install test the Thunderbird Unity integration, click on the link given below and install it.

Unity Launcher Integration 0.1

After installing the add-on, you will get the unread message count in the Unity launcher. However to get the context menu, you have to log off and then login again.

Remember  this is add-on is currently released for testing and you might run into bugs.  If you do encounter any bug, you can report it at  bugs.launchpad.net/unitylauncher-extension

Here is a video of the Thunderbird Unity  Integration  in action:

Thunderbird Ubuntu Unity Launcher Integration from Mozilla Messaging on Vimeo.

[via Mozilla Labs]

Jolicloud Rebranded As Joli OS; Android App Coming Soon

Jolicloud – the cloud based operating system based on Ubuntu – is one of the first cloud based OS I have used. It is quite a nifty operating system and we have written about it a lot here at Techie Buzz.

In a blog post, the team behind Jolicloud has announced that they are giving Jolicloud a new identity. Earlier, the name “Jolicloud”  referred  to the operating system. However when the Jolicloud app was launched in the Chrome Web Store, it turned to to be quite successful there as well. This leaves two Jolicloud in two forms – a stand-alone operating system with cloud focus and a web app using which users can experience many of the features found in the stand-alone OS.

This is what the Jolicloud team wrote in the blog post:

Back in December, we introduced a Web only version of  Jolicloud for the Chrome Web Store. That app has already reached 60,000 installs and is now among the top 40 most popular apps. This success has convinced us that we now have to expand our experience beyond our own OS to be relevant on other platforms.

To remove this ambiguity, the Jolicloud team has announced that they are giving different names to the two. From now on, the stand-alone operating system will known as Joli OS. The web app, which can be accessed both from a normal browser and Joli OS, will be given the name Jolicloud.

The web app, now known as Jolicloud, is currently available only in the Chrome Web Store. However, they are looking to expand beyond that by supporting Firefox 4 and Safari. An experimental HTML5 port for the iPad is also being developed.

Another very exciting announcement is that they are looking to expand Jolicloud beyond traditional computing devices like desktops, laptops, netbooks etc. The Jolicloud team announced that they are planning to bring the Jolicloud experience to mobile devices as well. Their first step towards this is Android. They are working on an Android app for Jolicloud which should be available soon.

Ubuntu Netbook Edition and Desktop Edition is Simply Ubuntu From Now

Ubuntu, like Windows, came in several flavors. There was a Desktop edition, a Server edition and a Netbook edition. Though, this created no confusion (like in Windows) since these versions were pretty clear in their name. Needless to say, the naming scheme was much more meaningful and far better than that on Windows.

ubuntu-11-04-name-change

(Image Via: tipsneeded)
Going a step further, Canonical has announced that it will ship just one product named Ubuntu, from now onwards. This version of Ubuntu will be fully featured, and will have support across both netbooks and regular PCs. The Canonical blog writes,

The introduction of the new shell for Ubuntu means that we have a user interface that works equally well whatever the form factor of the PC. And the underlying technology works on a range of architectures including those common in netbook, notebooks, desktops or whatever you choose to run it on. Hence the need for a separate version for netbooks is removed.

With the netbook edition becoming a serious head-turner, this move will allow Ubuntu to focus its operations on one single product and make it better in every respect. Ubuntu sees a huge potential in the netbook market and has a stronghold in the field too.

To be clear, this is the opposite of us withdrawing from the netbook market. In fact looking at the download figures on ubuntu.com interest in netbooks is not only thriving but booming.

Another evident change is the removal of the word “Edition” from the release titles. Finally, Ubuntu will be  available in two simple versions now- An Ubuntu Server and the desktop version called Ubuntu. The changes will be in place from the next version, namely Ubuntu 11.04.

 

Microphone Volume Control Added To Sound Menu Of Ubuntu 11.04

Consistency across different applications is one of the main focus in Ubuntu 11.04. Ubuntu already has a unified sound menu from which users can manage the volume levels of different music players.

However, one thing that has always bugged me was the microphone volume control. Usually when a voice call arrives, say in Skype, users have to manually set the microphone volume level from the Sound Preferences.

This is all set to change in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal though. According to a  Conor Curran of the  Ubuntu Desktop Experience Team, the microphone volume control should be as easily accessible as the speaker volume control. This is very true because more and more people are starting to use VoIP calls.

To address this issue, Ubuntu 11.04 will include a microphone volume slider in the unified sound menu. Using the slider, users can control the volume of their microphones like they do with their speakers. The microphone volume works with popular applications like Skype and Mumble. However, unlike the speaker volume control, it will only be visible when there is a VoIP call.

The looks of the microphone volume slider has not been confirmed yet. However, it will have the same form as shown in the picture on the right – although icons and some details could change.

Do you like this new feature? Do let us know in the comments.

Banshee To Disable Amazon Store In Ubuntu 11.04

As you are probably aware, Rhythmbox has been dropped as default for Ubuntu 11.04. Instead Banshee will be the default media player in Ubuntu 11.04. Many of the technical difficulties of including Banshee as default has been resolved. In fact, it has already landed as default in the second Alpha which was released last week.

Now a different sort of problem is brewing – one that has to do with money. You see, Banshee has an integrated music store powered by Amazon. Whenever someone buys music using the Amazon MP3 Store integrated in Banshee, the Banshee project gets some revenue from Amazon. However, the Banshee team does not keep any of the revenue. All the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store is donated to the GNOME Foundation.

Canonical has a problem with this because it conflicts with their Ubuntu One Music Store. Powered by 7Digital, the Ubuntu One Music Store was introduced in Ubuntu 10.04 and it has been the default music store in Rhythmbox since then. Unlike the music store in Banshee, Canonical takes the revenue that comes the Ubuntu One Music Store.

The Ubuntu One Music Store is a project in which Canonical has put in a lot of hard work. They obviously do not want the new music player that ships with Ubuntu 11.04 to use some other music store. So, they have asked the Banshee developers to either give 75% of the revenue from the Amazon MP3 Store to Canonical or activate the Ubuntu One Music Store by default instead of the Amazon store.

Instead of paying Canonical the 75%, the Banshee team has decided to have the Ubuntu One Music Store activated by default. The Amazon MP3 Store will still be available – but users have to enable it manually – and the revenue from it will will still go to the GNOME Foundation.

This is the statement that the Banshee Maintainer Team issued:

As maintainers of the Banshee project, we have opted unanimously to decline Canonical’s revenue sharing proposal, so that our users who choose the Amazon store will continue supporting GNOME to the fullest extent. The GNOME Foundation’s Board of Directors supports this decision.

Do you think what Canonical did was right? And did Banshee did the right thing by choosing to enable the Ubuntu One Music Store by default?

[image credit]

Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS Released

Although most of the actions are taking place in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narhwal, Ubuntu 10.04 is still a very important release. Being an Long Term Support (LTS) release, it is widely used by those who prefer stability to new features and on servers where stability is very critical.

Canonical is  committed  to supporting Ubuntu 10.04 till April 2013 on desktops and April 2015 on servers. So, in continuation of the support, they have made available a new maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04. The new release – Ubuntu 10.04.2 – is the second maintenance release of Ubuntu 10.04.

Since this is a maintenance release, it does not come with any new features. However, it does include a number of security updates and bug fixes which affected the release earlier. One of the most critical bug fixed in this  maintenance  release  is are the installation bugs. The bug in the installation process which caused performance regression on ext4  file-systems  has been fixed in this maintenance release.

This is what Kate Stewart, Ubuntu Release Manager, wrote in the mailing list:

Numerous updates have been integrated, and updated installation media has been provided so that fewer updates will need to be downloaded after installation. These include security updates and corrections for other high-impact bugs, with a focus on maintaining stability and compatibility with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.

Along with Ubuntu, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 has also been released. Ubuntu 10.04.2, Kubuntu 10.04.2 and Xubuntu 10.04.2 are available for download for both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms.

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop

Download Ubuntu 10.04 Server

Download Kubuntu 10.04

Download Xubuntu 10.04

If you are already using Ubuntu 10.04, you do not need to download the ISO again. Instead, you can simply update your system as usual.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

You can view the change log of Ubuntu 10.04.2 here. The next maintenance  release of Ubuntu 10.04 is scheduled for July 2011.

Canonical Releases A Component Catalog To Help You Build A Computer Which Just Works With Ubuntu

When we build a PC in which Linux is to be the main OS, we generally have to watch out for hardware that does not work well in Linux. This means searching in Google and going through forums, blog posts etc.

Knowing that this is generally a difficult task for most users, Canonical started the  Ubuntu Certification Program for hardware last year. Originally the program certified only complete machines – that is laptops, desktops and servers – as Ubuntu ready and does not deal with the components that goes into them.

Today, though, Canonical has decided to extend it to the components as well and has released a database of over 1300 components – from processors to keyboards – which will just work with Ubuntu. Canonical compiled this list using the list of Ubuntu certified laptops, desktops and servers, and their experience with working on servers for enterprise.

This is indeed a very useful list for not only Ubuntu users, but also Linux enthusiasts everywhere. This means we now have a centralized database from which we can make sure that our next machine will work well with Ubuntu (or Linux in general).

This is what Victor Palau, Platform Services Manager at Canonical, said

There has not been a comprehensive, up-to-date freely available catalog like this for a long time. By making this open and easily searchable we want to speed the component selection for Ubuntu machines, and allow us and our partner manufacturers to focus on the value-added user experience.

While the list is great from the normal user’s point of view, some proponents of free software may complain that Canonical has not made any distinctions between hardware for which open drivers are available and those for which only proprietary drivers are available. The recent decision from the Debian community to remove the proprietary firmware from the kernel of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze” indicates that people still care about this issue.

Personally, I too think that it would have been better to separate the hardware with proprietary drivers from those with open drivers. But Canonical has done a good job with this database and we should not let that spoil the mood.

You can view the components catalog here.

In case you want to see the list of certified machines, you can see the here.

Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” Alpha 2 Released

Today Canonical has released the second alpha of Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narhwal. This released will be followed by another alpha, a beta and a release candidate before the final version is released in April 2011.

Compared to the first alpha, this release marks the addition of most of the new features we will see in the final release. One of the most significant changes in this release has to the inclusion of LibreOffice in place of OpenOffice.org. Another change in the default application is that Banshee music player has replaced Rhythmbox.

People who have been calling for the Unity launcher to have an auto-hide feature will be happy to know that intelli-hide is now enabled by default. What the intelli-hide does is that it hides the launched only when it is obstructing an active window. The Software Center continues to get improved as well. The long-awaited application rating and review system finally makes an appearance in this release.

The much talked about global menu has also been included in this release as App Menu. Users of Mac OS X will already be familiar with this. It is the system where the menu is included in the panel instead of having it separate for different open windows. It was originally planned for inclusion in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition, but did not make it. The App Menu is supported in both the Unity UI and the classic GNOME desktop.

If you want to try out these new features, you can download the live CD from http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/natty/alpha-2/

WebUpd8 has also made a video review of these new features.