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:

Instructions on getting that setup on your machine:

The package to install is desktop-backgrounds-extra
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.

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.

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.

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
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.

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.

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:

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.


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 ;-)


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 channel, and our Ubuntu Developers YouTube channel.

My fellow blogger at 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

Find stream for plenary sessions in room 5.

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

mplayer -playlist -ao pcm:file=/tmp/mystream.wav -vc dummy -vo null
and use lame for encoding as .mp3:

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 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 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.

A stream of all Ubuntu and UDS posts made to, Twitter, and Flickr can be found at

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 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, 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.
We encourage people at UDS to create an account on, 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 account and posts you make to will automatically forwarded to Twitter.

If you don't wish to create an 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, 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 is an open source microblogging client for GNOME developed with Python and GTK. It supports Twitter, Jaiku,, Facebook, Flickr, Digg, and RSS. Gwibber is available in universe in Ubuntu 9.04+.

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!

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

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!


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

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:
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:
- Source:
- PPA (with a build package):
- Grab the wallpaper here:

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

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.

Nov 5, 2009

Danish TV 2 Is No Friend Of Linux

The Danish TV station TV 2 has been using Microsoft's Media player to display its content on Sputnik for a long time. This has caused several problems, especially for those not using Windows or Internet Explorer.
It has been decided to switch to another system, and here the choice fell on Microsoft's Silverlight as a replacement for Flash. The Danish news website Version2 have asked TV 2 why they chose as they did.
The most obvious reason was that the whole infrastructure behind Sputnik was already based on Microsoft Media Video format, which Silverlight can use directly. If they had chosen to use something else like Flash, almost everything would need to be rewritten.
Silverlight has integrated DRM technology and copy protection which is a request from several of the content providers.

Linux users left in the cold.
Although everything is now working on TV 2 Sputnik for both Mac and Firefox users who have the Silverlight plugin installed, Linux users are still left out in the cold.
Open source Moonlight project is an attempt to create a Silverlight clone for Linux platform and developed in collaboration between Novell and Microsoft.

I must admit that I have not tested the player with Moonlight. I am quite sure that our DRM-protected content will not work
says Magnus Rask Detlif. He adds that the new player is still in beta, and therefore may be minor errors.
I would have liked that a huge website like TV 2 would have chosen a more open solution. A setback for Linux as a desktop platform, but a win for TV 2 and Microsoft.

Is Karmic Koala Buggy?

The Register has an article reporting that early adopters are having a tough time with Karmic Koala. The article says that Ubuntu 9.10 is causing outrage and frustration, with early adopters wishing they'd stuck with previous versions of the Linux distro. (read more here...)

This brings us back to the testing debate again. Reporting bugs is the only way for developers to know about the bugs you experience and to fix them and make Ubuntu the best Operating System it can be. It is absolutely crucial that we have enough user to test the entire system on various hardware, and that these users provide the developers with good bug-reports. But Ubuntu doesn't lack users, in fact Ubuntu has never been more popular. So, what happened with Karmic?

As João Pinto pointed out, whether Karmic Koala is a good or bad release, it is all a matter of expectations. João also belives this was an accounted risked, part of the preparation for a much important goal which is 10.04 LTS. Martin Pitt posted the following on the ubuntu-devel-discuss:

Well, the bug tracker is full of regression and other reports. Karmic indeed was meant from the start as a "crack dump" release, with lotsand lots of new technology going into it. So in a way, it was the Fedora of Ubuntu releases so far. Perhaps we should have announced that more clearly...At least we now have a full cycle ahead of us to do bug fixing. :) "Unlike the usual blame game this was a much simpler and probably more realistic answer.

What has been your experience if you've moved to Karmic?

Read the entire article here:

Nov 4, 2009

XBMC 9.11: Alpha1 ready for testing

The first official testing release of the beloved XBMC 9.11 is now available.

The official announcment writes:
Today we are pleased to announce the first official testing release of 9.11, Codename: Camelot. It’s been quite a while since Babylon, so we’re very excited to begin the release cycle and work towards a new release. Please keep in mind that this is an early alpha build, and it should be treated as such. While it’s not likely to burn your house down or eat your pets, it’s likely that testers will run into a few bugs. If this happens, please search TRAC to see if someone else has already reported it. If not, you may submit a QUALITY bug report. Keep in mind that the reason for releasing alphas/betas is so that we can get a better feel for what bugs are out there. If you don’t report them, we can’t fix them.
We are also still working hard to clean up the settings. Many useless ones have been removed, but there’s still quite a bit of rearranging to do.
There are a lot of new features in this release, far too many to list here, but the highlights are:
  • DirectX has replaced OpenGL for Windows
  • Numerous skinning engine updates which allow for use of some fancy new skins
  • Many improvements to the video player which allow for much smoother playback
  • Switch to Core Audio on OSX
  • Many VDPAU improvements under linux
  • Many platform-specific customizations
  • Much Much more. We will be showcasing the new features here on as the final release approaches.


If you like living on the edge and would like to try the alpha, head over to our download page. You will always find the most current official builds there. AppleTV users may update via launcher’s downloads.

The Ubuntu SVN PPA build and XBMC Live will be uploaded soon!


Nov 3, 2009

Firefox 3.6 Enters Beta 1

The Mozilla community has now release Firefox 3.6 Beta 1 for download. This beta version of the next version of Firefox is built on the Gecko 1.9.2 web rendering engine, containing many improvements for web developers, Add-on developers, and users. The Mozilla community appreciates your feedback and assistance in testing this preview of the next version of Firefox. Your beta software will update itself periodically, and eventually will be updated to the final release itself.
This first revision of the Beta of Firefox 3.6 / Gecko 1.9.2 introduces several new features:
  • Users can now change their browser’s appearance with a single click, with built in support for Personas.
  • Firefox 3.6 will alert users about out of date plugins to keep them safe.
  • Open, native video can now be displayed full screen, and supports poster frames.
  • Support for the WOFF font format.
  • Improved JavaScript performance, overall browser responsiveness and startup time.
  • Support for new CSS, DOM and HTML5 web technologies.
Web developers and Add-on developers should read more detail about the many new features in Firefox 3.6 for developers on the Mozilla Developer Center. For the full list of changes since the alpha release, see this list (it’s big).
Please use the following links to download Firefox 3.6 Beta, or visit the beta download page:
At this time most Add-ons have not yet been upgraded by their authors to be compatible with Firefox 3.6 Beta. If you wish to help test your Add-ons, please also download and install the Add-on Compatibility Reporter – your favorite Add-on author will appreciate it!


Nov 2, 2009

Testing To Make It Better...

While we have an incredible bunch of people in the Ubuntu community, at Canonical and upstream that fixes bugs, we are always looking for good people to hunt down these bugs and report them. Reporting bugs is the only way for developers to know about the bugs you experience and to fix them and make Ubuntu the best Operating System it can be. But it is absolutely crucial that we have enough user to test the entire system on various hardware, and that these users provide the developers with good bug-reports.

From the Windows 7 download site, Microsoft can see that 8 million users download the Windows 7 BETA release!Microsoft also has these telemetry data that they get. Whenever anyone installs the Windows 7 BETA, they will automatically enroll into the customer feedback program. In the RC release and the final release it's an opt in program, but back in the BETA the deal was; "Hey, you're BETA testing this thing, we want the feedback - you have to provide us with this information!".
From the data collected by the customer feedback program, Microsoft was able to see that the testing pool wasn't 8 million, as the download site indicated, but instead 15 million people! So, this means 7 million people obtained the BETA or RC release of Windows 7 from elsewhere (Bittorrent, etc.).

I have no idea how many people tested the Karmic Koala alpha/beta/RC, but I'm sure the number is "slightly" smaller. It is impossible to calculate how many people is using Ubuntu. Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is getting a lot of spotlight from the press lately, which helps bring new users to Linux every day. More user means more software testers.

It seems to me that the average judgment in the Windows 7 vs. Ubuntu 9.10 reviews, says it's a close race and the score is roughly even. Some like Windows 7 better and some like Ubuntu 9.10 better. Basically, I don't freaking care. I couldn't care less about a boot race when I know that Karmic Koala is merely a stepping stone. You could of course argue that every release is, but Windows 8 isn't due until early 2012.
Six months from now, Microsoft will still be shipping their new flagship, while Ubuntu will be releasing Ubuntu 10.04 - the Lucid Lynx. At this point, Windows 7 will be fighting the fastest, most solid and most beautiful version of Ubuntu ever.

Windows 7 info source: Paul Thurrott