Dec 27, 2009

Karmic X-splash Makeover

I've created this little animation using the Karmic X-splash background. Finally I have some time to work on Ubuntu related projects which has been neglected for some time. I have other small projects that I will share with you in the near future. Let me emphasize that the Karmic X-splash makeover is only a mockup!


Dec 22, 2009

Docky!

My fellow blogger at the awesome site http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk, has been writing a lot about Docky. The Launchpad project description says: "Docky is a full fledged dock application that makes opening common applications and managing windows easier and quicker. Docky is fully integrated into the GNOME Desktop and features a no non-sense approach to configuration and usage. It just works."
Personally I'm still mainly using Gnome vanilla style, but Docky is look nothing less than fantastic!


Screenshot from OMG Ubuntu!




WOW! For more info I've added links to some of OMG Ubuntu!'s Docky posts below.
Source: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk and https://launchpad.net/docky

Dec 18, 2009

Mark Shuttleworth Steps Down As CEO At Canonical

You couldn't possible have missed this (every open-source and linux site has written about this), but just in case let me inform you that Mark Shuttleworth has announced the current COO Jane Silberwill have the privilege of leading Canonical from March of next year. Mark will continue to play a major role in Canonical, and it is expected to be a smooth transition. Silber's official blog and Linux.com each have more details on how the change will be implemented. Mark wishes to focus more on making Ubuntu better and less on the financial aspects. In his blogpost Mark writes:
From March next year, I’ll focus my Canonical energy on product design, partnerships and customers. Those are the areas that I enjoy most and also the areas where I can best shape the impact we have on open source and the technology market. I’m able to do this because Jane Silber, who has been COO at Canonical virtually from the beginning, will take on the job of CEO.
Since Jane joined the company, she and I have shared the load of coordinating between the leaders of all the key teams that make up Canonical. We’ve been through various permutations as new initiatives needed different kinds of attention; Jane currently leads the Ubuntu One effort, for example.
I’ve become very passionate about design and quality, and want to spend more time figuring out how we harness the collaborative process to build better, more insightful products. I can’t think of a more interesting challenge, and luckily I couldn’t think of a better person to take over my formal management and leadership responsibilities at Canonical than Jane. We’ve worked together long enough, and closely enough, that I can be confident of continuity in the pieces I most care about and also excited about the ways in which I think Jane will raise the bar for the senior team. As a former VP at General Dynamics, Jane has more experience of large customers and large organisational leadership, which I see as essential for Canonical over the next five years. We are being welcomed as a partner and supplier to ever-larger businesses, and I want to make sure we are a robust answer to their needs...

I've met both Mark and Jane in person and I honestly believe that this is a really good thing - they are both amazing people. I wish them both congrats and the best of luck.

Sources:
- http://www.markshuttleworth.com/
- http://blog.canonical.com/
- http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/
- http://arstechnica.com/

Dec 17, 2009

Improvements Coming To The Desktop Notification Area

The Canonical DesktopExperienceTeam (with help from Ayatana) is working on some nice improvements to the desktop notification area (or systray) for Ubuntu 10.04.

The current notification area is becoming more and more difficult for users to interact with. Each application behaves differently, they're not accessible, and they're even sometime styled differently. Ted Gould explains that this makes the interface difficult for users as they don't know what to expect. It provides a difficult situation for applications as there is no way that they can give the user a good experience as there are no standards to follow. And it makes the whole support system for software more difficult through documentation and long explanations of how to use the computer.



The DesktopExperienceTeam propose to migrate the different applets to using simple menus. This change should provide a more consistent interface and be an important step to improve the user experience with the right hand side of the panel.
With every application being a menu, and the panel knowing this and being able to assume it, then the whole notification area can be a menu bar. This makes it easy to browse application's menus, find what you want, and work with it. It also improves keyboard navigation and increases the accessibility. Menus are a nice mix between simplicity and expandability as they're easy to use and yet provide a way for applications to provide a rich set of functionality.


The proposed changes define two main areas in the panel:
• A "system indicator" area at the far right of the panel, gathering system features like sound, power or session management
• An "application indicator" area, just before it, grouping icons and menus from applications that wish to host a part of their interface on the panel Additionaly, we propose to turn all of the elements on the right side of the panel into regular menus.

This way, users will not have to worry about whether a function is accessible with a left or right click, or be suprised when a click on a panel icon suddenly hides or shows a full application window. Additionally, that will help provide:

An accessible interface: icons and menus will be introspectable by screen readers
Style consistency: as the menus will be rendered by the same toolkit as the panel, the context menus of KDE applications will be rendered in the same style as other applications running on a Gnome desktop, and vice versa
Constant layout: being integrated in a common menubar (as opposed to a collection of applets), icons and menus shouldn't be disturbed by resolution changes, like when doing a presentation and then returning to the desktop to see all applets totally disorganized
Menu scrubbing: users frequently browse menus in search of a feature; by turning the notification area into a set of menus, the users will be able to search the interface more easily

To understand more about what's coming in Ubuntu 10.04 and how to port applications the DX team tried to put up some documentation including a porting guide for applicationscode with examples.

In the notification area the messaging menu will also receive improvements. The DX team is providing specifications for how applications should integrated with the messaging menu.

A sketch for the Messaging menu in the nocification area for Ubuntu 10.04

Another part of Canonical's plan for panel perfection is a concept that the company calls the Me Menu. Based partly on Ubuntu's current presence applet, the new Me Menu will serve as a one-stop shop for configuring messaging status and social networks. Designed by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth himself, the Me Menu is expected to be one of the highlights of Ubuntu 10.04.


Much like the current presence menu, it will offer tight integration with the Empathy instant messaging client, allowing users to control their status and availability settings. It will also integrate with the Gwibber microblogging client to make it possible for users to post status messages to Twitter, Identi.ca, Facebook, and other services directly through a textbox in the Me Menu. Another major goal of the Me Menu is to provide a single access point for account management. The user will be able to use the menu to launch account configuration for Gwibber, Empathy, and Ubuntu One. (source ArsTechnica)

I would really like to see GNOME Shell considering picking up some of this amazing work. I am really excited about the opportunities this work is bringing to the Ubuntu desktop and I'm very much looking forward the improved user experience in Ubuntu 10.04.

Sources:
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopExperienceTeam/ApplicationIndicators
http://gould.cx/ted/blog/Having_a_tidy_systray
http://www.jonobacon.org/2009/12/17/application-indicators-in-python/
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/MessagingMenu

Banshee Gets Grid View

Earlier Aaron Bockover told us about the future of Banshee and the new Clutter based interface (Netbook-focused) called Cubano. Today, Aaron announced the new beautiful grid layout mode for the album browser in Banshee. The new code haven't been merged to master yet, because there's still a few quirks to work out, but the code is ready for some broader testing.

On his blog Aaron writes:
...That is, all the benefits of our polished list widget with a new look and feel! I’m making the widget more clever and abstracted about layout and rendering so it can be more inviting to users. In fact, you can even live-toggle between layout modes (e.g list and grid) without losing any state.


This effort provides a more visually immersing and space-conscious view for your collection of albums. This big step forward is the groundwork for presenting other media collections in a friendlier way — video thumbnails, movie box covers, audio books, photos…


Many people were sad to hear that Banshee won't become the default media player in Ubuntu 10.04 - possibly not even in Ubuntu 10.10, but that is yet to be decided. Rhythmbox will be the default music player and will get an integrated music store in the next version of Ubuntu. The music store will deliver the ability to purchase music from within Rhythmbox. Lets hope someone will intergrate the music store in Banshee as well.

As always, Banshee is looking awesome!

Source: http://abock.org/2009/12/17/banshee-grid-view

Dec 14, 2009

Zeitgeist + Docky



In case you've missed it, I just wanted to share the awesomeness of Zeitgeist + Docky with you. A few days ago Seif Lotfy posted this on his blog:
So Jason Smith approaches me after I was fiddling with Teamgeist.
Baiscally we gave Docky some awesomeness by providing its folders the knowledge of what it uses most.
After 1 hour or a bit more we had code. It is simple and I would love to see that in Shell. There will be much more Zeitgeist + Docky in the future. Of course stay tuned for other kick ass extensions, namely Teamgeist and Synapse.




Could this be the new GNOME experience?

X-Splash For Edubuntu 10.04



After talking with Stéphane Graber at UDS Dallas about new artwork for Edubuntu 10.04, I've created a very simple X-splash throbber mockup.



There's a lot of other artwork related tasks to work on for 10.04 as Edubuntu will have the following needs for the next release:

Main artwork
  • Wallpaper (at least one, should be 1920x1440 as the Ubuntu one)
  • Gnome/GTK theme (might be the same as Ubuntu)
  • Icon theme (might be the same as Ubuntu or our current one)
  • GDM theme (or at least background, depending on how we can customize it nowadays)
  • Splash (xsplash + usplash/plymouth depending on what's used for Ubuntu)
  • LDM background (for LTSP, same requirements as last time) (we'll need an Ubuntu and an Edubuntu background here)
Additional artwork
  • Theme for KDE (wallpaper, kdm theme, ...)
Stéphane Graber will create a complete wiki page listing the needs for each of these items (size, resolution, restrictions, ...) and will then announce it on both ubuntu-artwork and the edubuntu mailing-lists. As you can see from the list, there' s a lot of things to work on, and Edubuntu is looking for all the help they can get.


Source: https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/edubuntu-devel/2009-December/003199.html

Dec 8, 2009

Customizing X-Splash

I've been receiving a lot of feedback regarding my x-splash artwork and mockups. The most common question people ask, is "How can I get this?".

Since the first release of X-splash, we have seen many people customize the boot experience - some attempts more successful than others. You can find something really interesting on Gnome-look and the Ubuntu forums, but so far I haven't found any tutorials that explain how to create your own X-splash throbber. This post is an attempt to create such a "tutorial".



How does it all work
The X-splash files are stored in the /usr/share/images/xsplash folder. Modifying files in this folder requires root authority.
The background, logo and throbber images are all stored in four different sizes (It has been suggested to use only one scalable background image for Ubuntu 10.04, so this guide might be outdated by 10.04). X-splash will use the image sizes that fits your screen resolution best. I only use the largest files available for background, logo and the throbber, since these are the ones X-splash uses on my system. These three files are called:
  • bg_2560x1600.jpg
  • logo_xtra_large.png
  • throbber_xtra_large.png
You will notice the background image is in .JPG and that the filename contains information about the image size (2560x1600 px). If you create your own background image and plan to pass on your work to others, you must resize the image to the four different sizes. You can do the same for the throbber and the logo images, but in most cases (depending on the size of your images of course) you can use the same image size for all/most resolutions.

The logo and throbber files are .PNG files. .PNG was originally created as a replacement for the ubiquitous GIF format, which used to require a patent license for producers of imaging software to use it legally (the GIF/LZW patent has since expired, so this is no longer a factor). Besides being a freely available format, PNG allows for virtually unlimited transparency effects by enabling an alpha channel for transparency. This is exactly what we want for the throbber and logo image.

The logo image gets placed so that its center is screen width/2, screen height/3.

The throbber gets chopped via the throbber image's width and height divided by the number of frames. Xsplash expects 50 frames default. You can use whatever size image you want for the throbber, just make sure the graphics matches the number of frames. So, if you put an 100x5000 image, it'll appear as a 100x100 throbber animation with 50 frames.
Perhaps you remember when the Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 5 came out (first time X-splash was included) and every website posted YouTube videos of this weird looking animation. The throbber image shiped in Alpha 5 had 51 frames insted of 50!



The animation
For the animation you can eighter create the frames manually in applications like GIMP. You may already have brilliany ideas, but start simple until you understand how this works. MacUntu, from the Ubuntuforums, illustrates this perfectly.

 
A throbber with 17 frames by MacUntu


I prefer to use a animation application like Blender, which can render frames and save them as .PNG images. If you know other good applications for this task, please let me know.

When you've created the .PNG throbber frame images, you'll need to "stitch" them together. To stitch the frames images together (you'll need Imagemagick), place all the frames images in an empty folder and type:
convert `ls *` -append new_throbber.png
I've created 50 frame images for you to try this with: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/175241/boot/throbber_frame_images.tar.gz
The images won't give you a smooth animation since these are only old test images for what eventually became the Xubuntu X-splash.

Need more help
I hope this will get you started customizing X-splash. Remember you can re-install the default X-splash, go to the terminal and write:
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-xsplash-artwork
To show the X-splash arrguments:
sudo -u gdm xsplash --help
If you are look for more help, visit the Ubuntuforums.org where you'll find information about how to customize usplash, xsplash and grub and other goodies.
If you don't want to get your hands dirty, you can check out these other X-splash customizations:


Dec 7, 2009

Kernel Summary from UDS Lucid

UDS Lucid was a busy time for the Kernel Team. They chose a new kernel for the Lucid Lynx release, they reviewed their policies for Stable Updates, reviewed their kernel delta and configuration, and much more. Here is a very brief overview of their decisions for those who are interested. I should warn you that this might get a bit geeky.

The primary decision for the kernel team at UDS is to choose the base kernel version for the release. For Lucid this will be 2.6.32. This version has just released providing the maximum stabalization time, it also is expected to be the kernel of choice for long term releases from other major distributions (SUSE, Fedora?). The kernel team will also keep ext4 as their primary filesystem.

They also reviewed their Stable Release Update policy, moving to a more upstream stable branch oriented policy. The team will be taking upstream stable updates for longer and preferring those for Lucid.

The team reviewed their Ubuntu delta, the drivers, and patches they are carrying. They plan to update all of their Ubuntu drivers except for drbd. drbd is primarily consumed by the server team and they use a dkms module to get a more up to date version. On the patch side they have identified a number of redundant patches which have been dropped, and a number which should be moved upstream.

The team has decided to experiment with backporting newer kernels onto LTS releases for Lucid. This will involve provision of a kernel from later cycles into Lucid, supported on certified platforms. The policy here is being firmed up now.

For graphics, they chose to enable Radeon Kernel Mode Settings by default and to seriously look at enabling Nouveau for Lucid. This should bring a flicker-free Plymouth boot to the majority of users, but for people using the 2D-only "Nouveau" NVidia driver on Nvidia chipsets, they will have to sacrifice things like 3D compiz and VDAPU video playback. Confused? Read more about Plymouth and KMS here...

For those who crave more detail on these and a couple of other key initiatives can find more information at the following wiki page, which they will be keeping up to date with the current state of the union for the kernel http://wiki.ubuntu.com/KernelTeam/UDSLucid

https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/kernel-team/2009-December/007948.html

FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux



FreeNAS, a popular, free NAS solution, is moving away from using FreeBSD as its underlying core OS and switching to Debian Linux. Version 0.8 of FreeNAS as well as all further releases are going to be based on Linux, while the FreeBSD-based 0.7 branch of FreeNAS is going into maintenance-only mode, according to main developer Volker Theile. A discussion about the switch, including comments from the developers, can be found on the FreeNAS SourceForge discussion forum. Some users applaud the change, which promises improved hardware compatibility, while others voice concerns regarding the future of their existing setups and lack of ZFS support in Linux.

Changeing its underlying core OS is no picnic, but I think it will be all worth it.

Dec 6, 2009

Ubuntu 10.04 Will Have "Simple Scan"


Robert Ancell is working on making scanning on Ubuntu "just work". Currently scanning is performed using the default installed Xsane. Xsane has many options, has a style that does not integrate into the current Ubuntu desktop and does not allow scanning from within applications. In Karmic it was proposed to peplaced Xsane with the application Gnome-Scan, but Gnome-Scan was not found to be stable enough.
Robert Ancell's application titled Simple Scan is basically a frontend for SANE - which is the same backend as XSANE uses. This means that all existing scanners will work and the interface is well tested. However, this does not rule out changing the backend in the future. Besides a much cleaner interface, Simple Scan will also have a GTK+ interface that integrates nicely with the Ubuntu desktop.



Simple Scan is under heavy development, but hopefully Robert will have something solid, slick and intuitive to ship in Ubuntu 10.04.

http://people.ubuntu.com/~robert-ancell/simple-scan/
https://wiki.ubuntu.com/DesktopTeam/Specs/Lucid/DocumentScanning

Ubuntu Studio Variant Of The Breathe Iconset


Cory Kontros recently announced that Ubuntu Studio is looking for a icon refresh and is considering depending on the Breathe iconset as a base for Lucid. The idea is to create new icons in the Breathe/Oxygen style and inherit Breathe as a dependency. This new look will be a nice update from the current Tango styled icons. Saleel Velankar has already made the first submissions on the wiki.



https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Artwork/BreatheIconSet/UbuntuStudio

Dec 2, 2009

Ubuntu's Karmic Koala Bible .. 50 Page Guide Released



In simple copy/paste steps and detailed over 25 sections, the "Karmic Koala Bible" appeals to both Linux initiates and intermediates alike, stepping out key procedures such as partition planning and with a raft of system tweaks. It manages also to simplify use of the often-daunting terminal for greater user efficiency, even for new users.

Guvnr's founder Olly Connelly said of the guide:

The latest Ubuntu release is superbly user-friendly. At last Linux is giving Windows a serious run for its money. This guide gives newbies all the start-up knowledge they need while helping intermediates to attain a truly enhanced system setup.

The closest-to-perfect all-in-1 guide .. all-on-1-site! This guide belongs in the virtual library of every Linux user!

Web version here: http://guvnr.com/pc/karmic-koala-bible/ 

PDF version here: Download the Ubuntu Karmic Koala Bible in PDF, or read it online on Scribd!

Nov 29, 2009

Ubuntu Extra Wallpaper Package


Karmic includes a set of freely licensed high quality desktop backgrounds. A lot of beautiful backgrounds from the "contest" didn't make it onto the CD, but last week Kenneth Wimer pushed the extra wallpapers from the flickr contest to his PPA.
Hi all,
 
I've just pushed the extra wallpapers from the flickr contest to my ppa.
Direct link:
https://launchpad.net/~kwwii/+archive/ppa

Instructions on getting that setup on your machine:
https://launchpad.net/+help/soyuz/ppa-sources-list.html

The package to install is desktop-backgrounds-extra
Ken
You can click here to download the desktop-backgrounds-extra_0.2_all.deb

Although the Ubuntu 10.04 contest haven't yet started, the planning has. For each release, there will be a start and end date where you can submit pictures for the current development release. The pictures won't be considered for more than one release (but you can re-submit). Currently the plan is to have the end date set three months before release day, with a first package in Beta 1.

Let's hope Lucid will see as many beautiful submissions as Karmic did.

Lucid Lynx Timeline

Perhaps you already noticed in my last post "Lucid Lynx - This Is The Plan" that I've created a Lucid Lynx timeline. As I mentioned with the Karmic Koala timeline, I was inspired by Andreas Nilssons graphical representation of the GNOME Release Process and wanted to create something similar for Ubuntu.

This is the "updated version" which has roots, earth, sky, a Ubuntu EC2 cloud and a Debian snail.



The image represents the 6 months Lucid cycle as a timeline. https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LucidReleaseSchedule

Nov 26, 2009

Lucid Lynx - This Is The Plan


What can we expect from 10.04 - Lucid Lynx?
This post is ment as a followup on my previous post titled "What can we expect from 10.04". Of course no one can know exactly what Ubuntu 10.04 will be like and what features will land. But based on the outcome of the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Dallas here's my vision.

An early landing.
If you've been following the Karmic development, you will know that much of the work landed rather close to the actual release. With Lucid Lynx, the plan is to land as many critical elements as possible around alpha 2. The release schedule looks a little different this time. The biggest change is that there's now two beta releases. This is mainly done with the hope that more people will help test the release and report bugs earlier in the development cycle.



Since this is a LTS release, there will also be more time scheduled for bug fixing. Lucid might not be shipping the latest and greatest, because the of the increased focus on stability and long term support. The opposite might also be the case, as we saw in Ubuntu 8.04 Hardy Heron, where the final release shipped a BETA version of Firefox. There's some crucial choices to be made.

The music store
Rhythmbox will be the default musicplayer (Banshee might be considered again for Lucid+1) and will have an integrated music store. The music store will deliver the ability to purchase music from within Rhythmbox. No actual music partner has been announced yet, but Canonical are looking at several major vendors. The music downloaded to your music player library locally can be synced across all your computers via UbuntuOne. All the music will be DRM free, which means there will be no restrictions as to how many times a user can copy their purchased music.
With UbuntuOne you will be able to easily share any folders in your home directory. No need to move files into the UbuntuOne folder anymore. The team has also got massive plans for the future.



Applications
As you might have heard, Rick Spence brought up the suggestion of removing the GIMP from the default installation (it will still be available in the Software Center). The Gimp is a showcase for the power of FOSS, but it is also very complex. It takes up a lot of space, and basic photo editing tasks are taken up by F-Spot (though F-Spot could use some allround love). The plan is to include a videoeditor by default and the choice has, for now, landed on PiTivi. This has caused a lot of people to complain (with feedback), but this really isn't a big deal. The GIMP is not being "abandoned" just because it is not installed by default. The Ubuntu community supports a lot of software; not just what is on the disk. During the Alpha cycle, it will be decided if PiTivi is ready for the Lucid Lynx. Ryan Paul has written a nice article about the topic on the ArsTechnica website.
Lucid will ship OpenOffice version 3.2.1. The selection of games will undergo a clean-up. Basically the goal is to choose fewer, better games by default – especially ones that are online multi-player games.

System indicators
For Ubuntu Lucid, the messaging menu will by default contain a section for each messaging application you are actively using. The goal is to make the panel elements feel coherent and the behavior more consistent. Each section will show an item for the application as a whole, then any custom commands specified by the application, then any items for individual message sources within that application. An application may provide a new-messages count or a time-since-last-message for each message source as appropriate, or alternatively provide a new-messages count for the application as a whole. Your default mail application, and Ubuntu’s non-mail default messaging applications (Empathy and Gwibber for Lucid), will be placed first in the menu if you’re using them. All other application sections should have an item for the application itself, highlighted with a triangle if the application is currently running. Improvements are target the session menu, status menu, sound menu and power menu.


Software Center
One of the biggest features that were introduced in 9.10 was the Software Center. With a simple design it can be used to install and remove software packages and to add repositories for finding, installing and managing new applications. In Ubuntu 10.04 the Software Center will expanded its features and will also present packages (as opposed to end-user applications). It is also planned to include a way for users to review software or packages.

Compiz
Personally I was sad to learn that the rewrite of the Compiz core in C++ (which allows for smart functions, easier and smarter private systems, easier initialization and clean-up, and there are numerous other advantages) will not be ready in time for Lucid. The popular eye-candy application will however be receiving some allround improvements. Besides having it's own dedicated milestone in the 100 paper cuts project, the goals have been listed as:
  • Visual consistency with the Ubuntu theme
  • Coherent keybindings; utilizing the Super key
  • Increase awareness of features, really need to think about discoverability
  • Go back to 4 workspaces to make it worth a users while to learn the feature.
  • Improve animations - they need to be made more consistent, faster.
  • Disabling plugins to improve boot performance (compiz currently takes 9 seconds to start!).
  • Provide better interface for doing settings upgrades and backups
Notifications
The notification system that was introduced in Ubuntu 9.04, will have a "do-not-disturb" mode that individual applications can trigger. Whenever a program is inhibiting the screensaver, Notify OSD will be in the do-not-disturb mode. This means that while you’re watching a movie in fullscreen, you will not be notified about chat, e-mail or other non critical notifications. However a notification will appear if for example your battery is low.


100 Paper Cuts
Started during the Ubuntu 9.10 development cycle was an Ubuntu project to address paper cuts in Ubuntu, or rather small usability bugs in Ubuntu and the Linux desktop that are often only minor impairments or annoyances, but these easy-to-fix issues have never been heavily targeted for correction. These "paper cuts" are often spotted by new Linux users but frequently go unnoticed to those that have been using the Linux desktop for a while and are accustomed to its shortcomings. Most of the 100 paper cuts targeted for Ubuntu 9.10 were addressed (the official count seems to be at 76), but this project is going to live on with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.
Lucid will have ten rounds to fix 100 (or more) paper cuts in time for the Lucid Lynx before it is released in April. Three of the ten rounds are focused on addressing the outstanding paper cuts from Ubuntu 9.10. David Siegel has described the ten milestones that will help structure the effort to fix one hundred paper cuts for Lucid in his blogpost (see the Lucid series on Launchpad). If all goes according to plan, 100 paper cuts will be healed by the end of February.

Testing
Dustin Kirkland recently announced Testdrive which makes it simple to run any Ubuntu release in a virtual machine, safely, and without affecting your current Ubuntu installation. This is a great way to "try out" the Ubuntu release beyond your current version, before upgrading. Dustin Kirkland expects that testdrive will be very useful to Ubuntu developers, testers, and bug triagers during the Lucid development cycle, as these people will be able to test Lucid's daily ISOs throughout the cycle, and in particular at the release milestones for ISO-acceptance-testing.




Boot experience
There's a 10 second goal for boot time for Lucid, with the Dell Mini 10v with SSD as reference machine. The desktop-team has got a lot of work to do to reach the goal, which will shave 10 seconds off the the boottime. Even though we haven't seen any drastic improvements in Karmic, all the under the hood work done in Karmic will shine though in Lucid. The design and artwork won't change much from what we saw in Karmic - mostly small tweaks and cleanups here and there. Usplash will be replaced with Plymouth. Radeon KMS support should be available in 2.6.32 and later covering the kernel version in Lucid. Nvidia support is expected to only be available via the Nouveau driver, which is currently not slated for inclusion currently.


Only pieces
What I’ve described above only covers the stuff I’m most excited about surrounding the Ubuntu desktop. I hope the 100-papercuts project and Dustin Kirklands TestDrive will help crush a lot of bugs. There is still a ton of exciting stuff that I haven’t mentioned like all the server development, Ubuntu on ARM, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Kubuntu, Cloud, Quickly, Community and so much more. The new Gnome 2.30 release will of course bring a lot of enhancements as well.

Looking forward to Ubuntu 10.04 - the Lucid Lynx.
//MadsRH

Nov 25, 2009

Shot Of Jaq


About a month ago Jono Bacon and Stuart ‘Aq’ Langridge announced their new podcast Shot Of Jaq. Shot Of Jaq is an irreverent take on the goings on in the Open Source, Free Culture and technology world, delivered to your ears via weekly shots.
Featuring Jono Bacon and Stuart ‘Aq’ Langridge, founders of the popular award-winning LugRadio, each Shot Of Jaq delivers a thought provoking, comedy infused ten minute dose of entertainment twice a week. Each podcast is only 10 minutes long. Check it out at:

http://www.shotofjaq.org/

Nov 23, 2009

Google Chrome OS Promises a 3-Second Boot

Softpedia just posted a nice article about Google Chrome OS. Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google, announced on November 19th the immediate availability of the source code for their upcoming Chrome Operating System, under the name of Chromium OS. The actual Chrome OS, as Google said, will be released sometime at the end of 2010, one year from now, and it will be available at first for netbooks and, later on, high-end machines.

With this source code freely available for download, various developers can get involved in the project, by creating applications, patches, etc. In other words, from now on, the development of the upcoming Chrome OS will be done transparently.

"There is still a lot of work to do, and we're excited to work with the open source community. We have benefited hugely from projects like GNU, the Linux Kernel, Moblin, Ubuntu, WebKit and many more. We will be contributing our code upstream and engaging closely with these and other open source efforts." - was stated in the official release annoucement.

OK, so please enjoy the official, 1 hour and 20 minutes long "Google Chrome OS Open Source Project Announcement" video, in high-definition!





So, here's what we've learned about the Google Chrome OS until now. Under the hood, it will be powered by the Linux kernel (version 2.6.30 in the current source code archive) and a customized firmware, it will have an Ubuntu base (yes, Karmic Koala actually), EXT4 file system and the revolutionary Google Chrome web browser. But the best part is that Google's Chrome operating system will be so optimized, that it will start in no more than 3 or 4 seconds (depending on the hardware specs of the machine).


"Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn't trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer. Furthermore, Chrome OS barely trusts itself. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot. While no computer can be made completely secure, we're going to make life much harder (and less profitable) for the bad guys."

YouTube is already filled with video to help us understand how Google Chrome OS will work.









Until the Chrome OS will be available for download or deployed on your netbook, you can grab the Chromium OS sources right now from Softpedia.

Source: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Google-Chrome-OS-Promises-a-3-Second-Boot-127592.shtml

New UI for Ubuntu Tweak 0.6

The beloved application Ubuntu Tweak, designed to make configuring Ubuntu easier for everyone, will be receiving come UI love. The designer of UTCOM has done a mockup of Ubuntu Tweak 0.6, and here’s some new concept.


The mockup of Ubuntu Tweak 0.6

As you can see there will a new toolbar to switch between main category of functions, and the sub-functions will locate at the right-sidebar.

I simply love this application and I'm very much looking forward to this UI makeover. Let's hope they will spell "Ubunto" right in the final release ;-)

Source: http://ubuntu-tweak.com/2009/11/21/mockup-of-ubuntu-tweak-0-6.html

Nov 20, 2009

UDS Overload!

I haven't exactly been keeping this blog up to date with information about and from UDS. There's simply way too much going on here for me to cover it all. I'm not going to write a long summary today either, but I've listed some links below. If you want to know more about the discussions, check the Gobby documents which contains the actual notes from the sessions.

You can get videos from UDS on our Ubuntu Developers Blip.tv channel, and our Ubuntu Developers YouTube channel.

My fellow blogger at http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/ is doing an amazing job, writing about the discussions and decisions made here at UDS in Dallas.

GIMP To Be Removed From Lucid; F-Spot Has Challengers

PiTiVi On Course To Become A Default Application In Lucid

Ubuntu Music Store Coming In Lucid - Gets Detailed


Nov 17, 2009

UDS - day one

I’m at the Ubuntu Developers’ Summit (UDS) in Dallas. If you don't already know what UDS is, please read Alan Popes blogpost which describes it rather well here...

Remember you can easily participate even if you're not here.

The sessions

Every day I read, write and listen to English, and yet I rarely speak it. This trip to UDS in Dallas has been really challenging for both my tongue and my English vocabulary.
I've been meeting some very nice three dimensional people with full-sized human bodies and their hackergotchis sitting on top. Today I attended four sessions besides the joint ones in the Grand Ballroom. I'll try to describe some sessions below.


UDS name badges

Opening Plenary
The day kicked off with Jono Bacon, who made an introduction in the Grand Ballroom at 9:00 am. Besides a lot of practical details, Jono told us to eat healthy food, get enough sleep and be awesome! He pointed out that it is important that we stay on topic and that we get the most out of the one hour we're given in each session. Mark Shuttleworth also spoke briefly about Ubuntu 10.04 LTS.


Desktop round table
At this session we talked about what's important to focus on in this LTS release. Should the choice of applications remain the same to give users a feel of consistency, when moving from one release to another - or should we simply ship the best application for the job to deliver the best desktop experience. Banshee vs. Rhythmbox was brought up as an example.
Although this case was only a thought experiment, I should add that it is not likely that Lucid will be shipped with Banshee. Rick Spencer, the desktop team leader, also brought up the controversial idea of removing the GIMP in favor of a video editor, but he wanted to save the juicy details for the Wednesday session Application selection in the default install.

Boot preformance
Scott James Remnant talked for two hours about the plans for further improvements and about how to achieve it. He started the session by giving a short introduction to how to read boot-charts – mainly because people often get it wrong. To sum it up shortly, there are two graphs, the CPU graphs is how hard the CPU is working, the second is the disk being used. On the CPU blue is the CPU working hard, idle is generally bad. Disk utilization, we want the disk to be used as hard as possible for as short a time as possible; red is bad.
Even though we haven't seen much improvement in Karmic, all the under the hood work done in Karmic will shine though in Lucid. Scott talked about having budgets for each section of the boot. If all the teams all hit their budgets, the goal is achieved. He then gave a list of specific tasks to work on for each team to meet the goal. This was a very interesting session indeed.

Short joint sessions
After lunch we all meet back in the Grand Ballroom where Jono talked shortly about how to run a good session. He had created some pretty slides and remembered to recharge his laptop.

MPT explained the future plans for the Software Center. Throughout the week there will be some Software Center sessions, so I won't go into details here. I'm really looking forward to seeing the application mature.

Didier Roche (didrocks) and Rick Spencer did a demonstration of Quickly by writing a small application, building it, testing it and uploading it to a PPA in like five minutes. A fantastic usability improvement if you're writing applications on Linux. The videos aren’t up yet, but there are previous screen-casts showing it off.

Boot experience work
This session focused on the technical how to of the boot experience. Here Scott James Remnant again did much of the talking (along with Collin) and demonstrated his Plymouth dancing monkey animation. The plan for Lucid is to introduce Plymouth, although the details on how everything will fit together isn't entirely clear to me yet. Mat Tomaszewski had a list of technical issues that he wanted to discuss solutions for. Like; Removing the semi hidden and currently flickering mouse cursor and the fade in/out during startup and shutdown, etc..

Looking forward to tomorrows sessions.

Nov 13, 2009

Ubuntu Developers Summit - Participate Remotely

The Ubuntu Developers Summit will be next week (Nov 16 - Nov 20) in Dallas, TX USA.
All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go, and hopefully I will be writing blogposts from UDS throughout the week - I'm sure many others will too. After UDS, I plan to write an updated version of What can we expect from 10.04 - Lucid Lynx?.

Even if you're not joining the party, there's still ways to participate. Check out the UDS wiki Page for more info in participating remotely.

Internet Relay Chat

  • Overall discussion, including plenary: #ubuntu-devel-summit on freenode.
  • Discussion Channels - The tracks are shuffled around different rooms, so the irc channels are /per room/, not per track. Here are the channels, which corresponds to the room of the session in the schedule.
  • #ubuntu-uds-waverly
  • #ubuntu-uds-stanford
  • #ubuntu-uds-madison
  • #ubuntu-uds-esmeralda
  • #ubuntu-uds-mayflower
  • #ubuntu-uds-riviere
  • #ubuntu-uds-vinoy
  • #ubuntu-uds-presidente
  • #ubuntu-uds-riogrande
  • #ubuntu-uds-lonestar1
  • #ubuntu-uds-lonestar2
  • #ubuntu-uds-lonestar3
  • #ubuntu-uds-alamo1
  • #ubuntu-uds-alamo2
Icecast
http://icecast.ubuntu.com/

Find stream for plenary sessions in room 5.

Recording a Live Stream
Use mplayer to capture the livestream (e.g for room3):

Code:
mplayer -playlist http://icecast.ubuntu.com:8000/room3.ogg.m3u -ao pcm:file=/tmp/mystream.wav -vc dummy -vo null
and use lame for encoding as .mp3:

Code:
lame -m s /tmp/mystream.wav -o "/tmp/uds_room3.mp3"
for scheduling you can use cron to start mplayer and pkill to stop the recording.

Gobby
gobby.ubuntu.com

Gobby is being used at UDS to collaborate on the specifications that are being written and to facilitate remote participation.

To take part, please install Gobby (available in universe) and tell it to connect to gobby.ubuntu.com. You will be presented with a list of documents being edited. During any session or meeting, and particularly at the end of one, please do make a local backup of your documents. WARNING: There is a new gobby in karmic, gobby-infinote, we will NOT be using this at UDS since we need for people on older releases to participate. Ensure you are using the "gobby" package.

Lifestream
A stream of all Ubuntu and UDS posts made to Identi.ca, Twitter, and Flickr can be found at http://summit.ubuntu.com/media/lifestream.html

Videos
We will be recording certain sessions and all the plenary sessions at UDS. You can follow along with the videos as we post them on the Ubuntu community on Miro. If you want to automatically receive updates when videos are available we recommend that you Miro and click on the miro links at the site to subscribe to the video feeds. These videos will be in Ogg Theora format and is the recommended method for watching UDS videos.

Micro-blogging

Micro-blogging is a form of blogging that allows users to send brief text updates of 140 characters or less. It is a great way to inform the Ubuntu community of discussions and news that happen during UDS. Many Ubuntu users get there news from UDS from microblogging sources. During UDS-Mountainview, Identi.ca saw more traffic during UDS than during the night of the U.S. Presidential elections.

Microblogging is not a replacement for gobby or IRC, which have important uses during an UDS event. It should be used as a tool to communicate with other people at UDS and the wider Ubuntu user community.

Suggested ways to use microblogging at UDS:
  • Announce session topics at the beginning of the session.
  • Ask for feedback from the community during the session discussion.
  • Dent/tweet important discussion points during the sessions.
  • Dent/tweet any news worthy items during UDS (Kernel version, encrypted swap by default, etc...).
  • To plan social events and gatherings during UDS.

Identi.ca
We encourage people at UDS to create an account on Identi.ca, an open source micro-blogging platform if they don't already have an account. If you have a Twitter account you can link it your Identi.ca account and posts you make to Identi.ca will automatically forwarded to Twitter.

If you don't wish to create an identi.ca account, each track has a generic account that people can use to post. These accounts will also announce each session as it begins. Passwords for these account will be listed at the UDS venue.
  • @udscommunity
  • @udskernel
  • @udsqa
  • @udsfoundations
  • @udsmobile
  • @udsdesktop
  • @udsserver
In identi.ca, please use the !ubuntu and !UDS groups in your message, which already have many followers. These automatically post to the hashtags #ubuntu and #uds, if you want to follow and are not interested in sending.

Gwibber

Gwibber is an open source microblogging client for GNOME developed with Python and GTK. It supports Twitter, Jaiku, Identi.ca, Facebook, Flickr, Digg, and RSS. Gwibber is available in universe in Ubuntu 9.04+.

https://wiki.ubuntu.com/UDS-L

Humanity Icons Pack



For a while, my fellow blogger on OMG! UBUNTU! have been writing a lot of posts about the Humanity icons for Ubuntu 9.10:

Now you can grab all of the icons in the Humanity Icons Pack that includes monochrome Humanity panel icons for:
Printing, Shutter, Tomboy, Banshee, File Operations, Rhythmbox, Deluge, Fusion-Icon, Transmission, Gwibber, Emesene, Lifera, PolicyKit/Seahorse, Exaile, gPodder, Gwget, CellWriter, Gnome-Do, Specto, HPLIP, Brasero, Weather.
And there's more to come! http://gnome-look.org/content/show.php/Humanity+Panel+Icons+Theme?content=115260


Nov 10, 2009

GNOME 3.0 in September 2010

GNOME logo


After collecting some feedback, the GNOME Release Team has finally decided on the release date for GNOME 3.0: It will be September 2010.
To take a look again at the GNOME 3 plan that was released in April 2009: Click here.

This may come as a disappointment to those that have been very much looking forward to major improvements on the GNOME desktop, but a six-month set-back won't be too bad if it will lead to a better quality release (especially after judging the initial KDE 4.0 release). Additionally, Canonical for instance was not planning on shipping GNOME 3.0 until Ubuntu 10.10 due to Ubuntu 10.04 being their Long-Term Support release and not wanting to ship a potentially buggy desktop, so many desktop Linux users would not even have encountered the 3.0 release until October of 2010.


New module decisions for GNOME 2.30 were also made of course.

On the Gnome devel-announce-list, Vincent Untz wrote:

GNOME 3.0 will be released in September 2010, and in the meantime, we
will release GNOME 2.30 in March 2010, continuing our long-standing
tradition of six-months releases.

Thanks to the input from the community, we were able to draw a clear
picture of where we stand today and where we will be next March. As
mentioned in the GNOME 3.0 planning document [1], the release date for
3.0 was not set in stone: while we're using a strict schedule that
allows us to release GNOME every six months, GNOME is above all using
quality-based release engineering. That's why our community wants GNOME
3.0 to be fully working for users and why we believe September is more
appropriate.

Note that this release date for 3.0 doesn't mean that 2.30 will be less
stable than usual. On the contrary, this will help us integrate the
changes that are ready for 2.30, while leaving the parts that are still
rough on the edges outside of GNOME, as used daily by our users, until
after 2.30 is out. This will solidify both our 2.30 and 3.0 releases.

The idea of doing GNOME 3.0 was first seriously discussed in 2008,
before focus areas were defined in 2009, alongside a plan to reach
3.0. Those focus areas include revamping the user experience,
streamlining the platform and improving the promotion of GNOME. Compared
to GNOME 3.0, GNOME 2.30 will see the iterative improvements and bug
fixes that people have now come to expect from our 2.x branch, in
addition to some preliminary work needed for GNOME 3.0.

The GNOME 3.0 planning document was answered by the community with a
tremendous amount of work, with various teams taking the opportunity to
set their own goals for 3.0. Such goals range from modernizing part of
our stack to proposing new UI models for our desktop: those broad
changes show our ambition to always offer the best to developers and
users, and this make our path to GNOME 3.0 most exciting!

Let's make 2010 a fantastic year for GNOME!

Vincent

[1] http://live.gnome.org/ThreePointZero/Plan
A wise decision and I'm sure the Gnome 3 release will be fantastic ones it arrives.
If you want to test the developer preview of Gnome-Shell, you can easily install it in Karmic Koala via Synaptic.


Source: Andre Klapper (andre) and phoronix.com

Nov 9, 2009

"Dawn of Ubuntu" Returns


This beautiful artwork by Armin Ronacher, have been brought back to life by Dylan McCall (the workhorse behind the new Ubiquity slideshow). In case you don't know, "Dawn of Ubuntu" is a desktop background that has been around since Feisty Fawn. It exists in various remixes, which makes it perfect for a really elegant day / night transition, that reflects the outside world.
Dylan McCall announced his little project as early as May 2008, but about a week ago, he picked up the project again. This time with the hope of bringing "Dawn of Ubuntu" back to Ubuntu.
On the ubuntu-artwork mailinglist he wrote:
Hi,
A while ago, I made a slideshow wallpaper out of Dawn of Ubuntu and its
various remixes. It crossfades between them throughout the day. The
result is a really elegant day / night transition that reflects the
outside world.

I finally got around to making a Debian package for the thing (since
people had trouble installing it themselves), and I uploaded it to my
PPA. No need to add the PPA to install the package, since there probably
won't be any super exciting updates. (Just browse through its files and
grab the appropriate .deb).

Unless I'm really mixed up, I believe there has been discussion about
bringing back Dawn of Ubuntu since the licensing stuff has been cleaned
up; it's simply cc-by-3.0 now. Perhaps this package - or something like
it - would be a stylish way to do so.

Enjoy :)
(And feedback is always appreciated)

Dylan McCall
On the mailinglist, the idea of changing images regard to the climate was also brought up.
I've always felt that "Dawn of Ubuntu" captures some of that African spirit that surrounds Ubuntu. I know there's millions of beautiful wallpapers out there and I'm sure my feelings for this one is purely sentimental.

- PPA: https://edge.launchpad.net/~dylanmccall/+archive/ppa
- Source: http://code.launchpad.net/~dylanmccall/+junk/day-of-ubuntu-wallpaper
- PPA (with a build package): http://dylanmccall.googlepages.com/day-of-ubuntu-wallpaper_1_all.deb
- Grab the wallpaper here: http://the-mitsuhiko.deviantart.com/

Nov 8, 2009

MythTV Theming and UI Patch Contest


After a year and a half of development and two release candidates, MythTV 0.22 final is now available. Version 0.22 of MythTV, this popular free software project to watch and record television from your computer, brings a lot of new stuff, including a major overhaul of the Qt-based MythTV user-interface and its new MythUI library with all new capabilities. The MythTV project also announced today a competition for designing new themes for MythTV with some nice prizes.
  • First Prize: A Hauppauge HD-PVR ($249 Value), A Schedules Direct T-Shirt, a free year of Schedules Direct service, and the inclusion of the theme into MythTV to ship with MythTV 0.23 (Due out approximately March 2010).
  • Second Prize: A Hauppauge HVR-2200/2250 ($149 Value, model will depend on location of winner), a Schedules Direct T-shirt, and a free year of Schedules Direct service.
  • Third Prize: A Hauppauge HVR-1200/1250 ($69 Value, model will depend on location of winner), A Schedules Direct T-Shirt, and a free year of Schedules Direct service.
Read the theming contest details and about the consolation prizes at http://www.mythtv.org/theming-competition
 
Source: http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=NzY4MQ

Nov 7, 2009

Artwork Ready For 9.10 Release Party

I've been working on a Danish leaflet/flyer/brochure for the Danish release party, and it has now reached the stage where they are being printed. As I mentioned in my previous post, I've used the Ubuntu Leaflet as base, and changed the colors to fit Karmic. I also created a very simpel poster. Finally I've managed to upload both to SpeadUbuntu and my Behance portfolio.



At Ubuntu Live! 9.10 / Karmic Release Party, members of the Danish Ubuntu community will have 250 brochures to give away, along with a huge pile of Ubuntu CD's provided by Canonical. Let's hope this will help spread the word.



As I also mentioned in an earlier post the Danish Ubuntu community will be doing something a little different with this release. This time we want to try to reach out to people who have never heard of Ubuntu before. Although the event always is open to the public, it's mostly people from the Danish forum, IRC, mailinglists and Linux community that attend.

On Saturday 14th November 2009, we’ll set up a handful of delicious laptops in the shopping mall Bruuns Galleri in Aarhus. By each table, one or two people from our group will demonstrate and talk about Ubuntu. We'll hand out free CDs and the brochure to those who might be interested. The telecommunications company Telenor will, thanks to Anders Pedersen, be providing us with Huawei E230 USB modems and broadband connectivity - awesome! Afterwards there will be something more relaxed, community minded and probability more geeky as usual.

I'm going to UDS, so I won't be able to make it to the event myself, but I'm sure Ubuntu Live! 9.10 / Karmic Release Party will be fantastic.

http://spreadubuntu.neomenlo.org/da/material/brochure/ubuntu-awareness-brochure

http://spreadubuntu.neomenlo.org/da/material/poster/simpel-910-poster