Jan 28, 2010

Wallpaper Artwork

I've been trying to create a wallpaper for Edubuntu. So far I have a few suggestions, but nothing that is good enough to be used as default wallpaper. Anyway, I just wanted to share my four current suggestion with you.

You can grab the .JPG versions in 2560x1600 px here:

Jan 25, 2010

David Siegel Suggests Improvement For Launchpad Bug Workflow

David Siegel from the Ubuntu Design Team has suggested a way for opportunistic programmers to contribute to bug-fixing without knowing everything about dependencies, maintaining clean build environments, generating patches, version control systems, packaging or publishing PPAs. David wants to add a “Quickly fix this bug” to Launchpad that will download the source code and open it for you in Eclipse.

You should read the entire post, but let me just shortly summarize. David's user story consists of the following steps to create, test, and submit a patch for a small bug:
  1. Click “Quickly fix this bug” on the Launchpad bug report.
  2. Edit the source of the corresponding package in Eclipse.
  3. Build the project and test the changes.
  4. Submit the patch and comment back to Launchpad.
This would make a huge improvement in Launchpad bug workflow and the quality of software in Ubuntu - a great idea. Read "Improving Launchpad Bug Workflow for Opportunistic Programmers" here.

Jan 19, 2010

Ubuntu 10.04 Alpha 3 Goals

Many people are following the development of Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) closely, and so is many news sites:

...just to name a few. Following this development might be most interesting to developers and more tech minded people, because it often involves a lot of geeky terms. Raving Rick (aka Rick Spencer) recently wrote a blogpost titled Ubuntu desktop Alpha-2 and Alpha-3 work items update, where he provides a summery of what actually landed in Alpha 2 and writes about the re-planned for the next milestone, Alpha 3. Most of the Social From the Start items and the Xorg triaging and diagnosis tools didn't make it into the Alpha 2 release.

Alpha 3 goals
You can see the full and detailed current plan here:

So, what is planned for Alpha 3:
  • Social from the start work focused on supporting the Me Menu
  • UNE session for desktop, desktop session for UNE
  • Finish xorg triaging and diagnosis tools
  • Make the experience for users of proprietary graphics drivers more robust
  • Switching to -nouveau open source nvidia driver by default to support 3d and KMS (note that this is risky work and will depend on stability and quality of components in xorg and the kernel and will be backed outbefore end of Alpha 3 if necessary)
  • Continue to improve desktop start up speed
  • Tweak compiz effects
  • Continue to change apps to use Udev rather HAL
  • Continual integration of Dx assets as available
  • Continual integration of OLS assets as available
  • Normal desktop throughput, such as update GNOME packages, updatesfrom Debian, bug triaging, etc...

Jan 15, 2010

Is GNOME Going To Duplicate The Efforts From Canonical?

Gnome Shell recently introduced a new notification system. Sadly it seems like GNOME Shell is going to duplicate a lot of the efforts from Canonical. Besides the notification system the application indicators also have similarities.

It looks like the Notify OSD of GNOME Shell is named the Message Tray. You can see a short screencast demo here: http://www.gnome.org/~mccann/shell/mockups/20090630-demo

I was truly hoping that Gnome would continue the fantastic work Canonical is doing rather than starting over. The question still remains, what experience will Ubuntu 10.10 ship?


Jan 12, 2010

The Ubuntu Manual Project

The Ubuntu Manual project has set out to create a complete beginners manual for Ubuntu, featuring comprehensive guides, howto's and information about anything you will need to know after first installing Ubuntu.

The manual will be available as a .PDF file and there will be a new revision released every six months there will coincide with each new release of Ubuntu. The work will of course be released under the CC-BY-SA license. The plan is to have the final version suitable for mainstream consumption ready in time for the Ubuntu 10.04 release.

At the moment the project has ten chapters and is translated into 20 languages and it has over a hundred contributors. Take a look at this very early release: Ubuntu Manual 0.1

If you want to contribute the easiest way for both you and the team is to follow these steps:

  • Join the Ubuntu Manual Team and the mailing list.
  • Check out the blueprints and find something that is unassigned that you think you might be able to handle.
  • Assign yourself to that blueprint, and read up on it in the blueprints section of this wiki.
  • If you can't find anything that you think would suit you, then scroll down a bit more and have a look at the "To Do List" or email the mailing list and ask for help, or join #ubuntu-manual on irc.freenode.net and ask someone what you can do.
  • If there is something that you think is right up your alley, but is already assigned to someone else, then contact them and ask them if they would like any help - chances are they would love an extra pair of hands.
  • If all else fails, then contact Benjamin Humphrey and he can find something for you to do!

Fluent in more than one language? Consider translating!

A Proposed Title Page


Jan 11, 2010

Ubuntu Release Schedule Video

After blogging about my Ubuntu Release Schedule Video project, I received a lot of awesome feedback. Some of the feedback was received a bit too late in the process (like text suggestions) to make it in the video, but is still very much appreciated. Today I finally have something to show. Alan Pope have been so kind to provided me with the missing audio for the video. Although many people offered to help, I decided to go with Alan for various reasons. These include having English as first language, being a well known voice (UK Podcast and screencasts), having quality recording equipment. So, let's look at the result:

There's still a few thing I could/should have included, but other that I'm very happy with the result. About the YouTube subtitles that many people commented on, just send me the file and I'll add it. In case you want to add a voiceover in another language here's the .OGV source (30MB): http://dl.dropbox.com/u/175241/THIS_IS_THE_ONE.ogv

Although this video took more time to create than I intended to spend, I really want to create other similar videos. If you want to help out, please add your ideas, suggestion, comments to the wiki (kind of obsolete now that the video is done) or the forum thread.

Before I leave you, I should give a shout out to Jens Sage who (for some reason) send me this: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1669637/indian_ubuntu.mp3

Once again, thanks for all the amazing feedback!

Jan 8, 2010

Ubuntu-Artists Group At Deviantart

Thanks to Martin Owens, there's now an Ubuntu-Artists group at DeviantArt.

Martin wants anyone who is involved in Ubuntu related art/design and uses or is interested in Ubuntu to join. He also want to favorites contain artworks made using Ubuntu, and the galleries to contain things that were made for Ubuntu (wallpapers, ui mockups, tans, fan-art, etc).

Martin writes:
I have only today noticed the a new feature in DeviantArt called Groups, this allows people to get together and form communities.

So I have applied to create a social group called “Ubuntu-Artists” which will hopefully act as a point of contact for anyone who uses ubuntu to create Art, for people who make Art for the community or for people who do UI design work for any of the programs in Ubuntu.

Available at the following link: http://ubuntu-artists.deviantart.com/
 Please do join and post your Ubuntu related artworks and designs.

What will be really good is getting a place where Ubuntu Art can be hosted, collected and shown off in all it’s glory. There are some really amazing art works created in Inkscape, Gimp and Blender on Ubuntu and it’s time we got to appreciate the artists who are striking out against the common belief that Macs make the best artist computers or that windows is where every drawing tablet works.


Source: http://doctormo.wordpress.com/

Jan 7, 2010

DivX Wants To Embed DivX TV Into Your Devices

DivX has a long history of trying to reinvent itself and this year at CES 2010, the company is attempting yet another shift: becoming an Internet TV platform for the living room. DivX TV will stream online media content to any connected device, including TVs, Blu-ray players and game consoles without requiring a separate box. Instead, the platform will be embedded directly into the device. DivX TV content will come from the AP, blip.tv, Break, CNET, Dailymotion, Revision 3, TED, Twitter and more. The software will also be able to stream music from Rhapsody and Pandora, as well as display pictures from Picasa.
DivX is hoping to leverage its existing partnerships with consumer electronics manufacturers to give them a new way to appeal to consumers who are viewing more content online these days. It's a compelling proposition: by embedding the Internet TV platform directly into a device, there's no need to buy a separate device and gives the manufacturer a slice of the advertising revenue.
Of course, as now-defunct Internet TV provider Joost learned the hard way, the product is only as good as its content, and without movie partners like Netflix or Amazon, or major studios to rent content as they do on Apple TV, it remains to be seen whether consumers are interested in watching Diggnation on their TV.
LG is the first partner for DivX TV, and the manufacturer will include the feature in an upcoming Blu-ray player.

Source: http://www.betanews.com/

Danish Schoolchildren Complaints About OpenOffice

In Denmark in an open letter to the mayor, city council and the IT manager in Lyngby-Taarbaek Municipality, the Virum School student council is now targeting sharp criticism against the decision to replace Microsoft Office with OpenOffice. There are major problems with programs and students lack training in how to use them, says the criticism.

Already last year there were debate around the municipality's decision to opt for OpenOffice rather than Microsoft's office suite.

Microsoft's technology director Jasper Hedegaard Bojsen then sent an open letter to the municipal mayor, which he denied that that OpenOffice should be an equal and cheaper alternative to Office. It led to accusations that Microsoft tried to implement a scare campaign.

Local newspaper site debate went back and forth between individuals. But now the pupils at school, are speaking up. In the open letter which can be read on the newspaper's website, they write include:

"Firstly, we think it is a huge problem that we have not learned to use the program, especially since 9th classes, the exam in a program they did not know and not know how to use. One solution might be to give us students a course in how to use the programs. It makes others know when they must learn a new program to know."

But criticism from Virum School student council will not stop here.

"We also have big problems with the layout. For example if we write a Danish-style home in the Word and spend much time on layout in style when we come to the school and must print it out or edit the layout is completely different and more cluttered than we had used time at home. This is a problem because we are also characters in order..." reads the letter.

Schoolchildren also regrets the lack of substitutes for several programs in the Office, including Publisher, is not in the OpenOffice package.

"We can not understand why only students and teachers to use OpenOffice, while all those who work elsewhere in the municipality still allowed to work with Microsoft Office package," they write.

The municipality has however been expressed that the entire administration to be shifted to OpenOffice and not just schools. The letter ends with this telling-off to the politicians:

"We think it is unfair that some of the most important tool in our school work and who previously has worked really well until we got OpenOffice, has now been changed to something that works worse."

Jan 5, 2010

Skype Goes 720p, Jumps Onto LG and Panasonic HDTVs

Although I love open source, I have to admit I'm a frequent Skype user. This week there's some big news from Skype. They're making a push for 720p video quality, with both new HD webcams and software support, but that's not the biggest deal here. They're also partnering with LG and Panasonic for Skype-enabled HDTVs.

Gizmodo writes:
The new Skype 4.2 beta can achieve better quality video than ever before: 1280 x 720 resolution at 30fps. They've also got a line of HD webcams (hardware from faceVision and In Store) that pack video encoding and processing onboard, so as not to confound your grandma's crappy old computer. There are two versions from each manufacturer: FaceVision has one with and one without a microphone ($100 and $70, respectively) and In Store has the Freetalk Pro at $120 and the presumably ever pro-er Freetalk Pro Plus at $140.

Now for those HDTVs. LG and Panasonic are the hardware partners here, and they've integrated both a webcam and Skype software into their HDTVs. They'll have just about every Skype feature the computer software has—voicemail, landline and mobile calls, free Skype-to-Skype, all that—as well as a 720p webcam and microphones specifically designed to pick up sound at couch distance. Want to say hello to your kid, niece, nephew, grandkid, whatever, but he or she won't sit still in front of a computer? Let 'em run around in front of the TV! We'll get more info from Skype on specific pricing and availability for these TVs this week.

Makes me wonder how this will work. Will every HDTV be running Skype on top of Windows or are Skype finally making a push for Linux? The last one would be the wiser choice.

Jan 4, 2010

I Need Your Help...

This might seem desperate, and perhaps it is, but I really need your help with a little project I'm working on. Basically I want to create an introductory video that briefly explains how the Ubuntu release schedule/cycle works. This will very much be aimed at Ubuntu newbies.

My first idea was to create an introductory video that would summarize what goes into a release cycle (Toolchain, UDS, Freezes, Alpha, Beta, RC), but that part has been postponed mostly due to my lack of knowledge in these areas (how does one describe Toolchain upload?). Anyway, back on topic, I figured I could write most of the text for the beginner friendly release schedule video myself, and so I did. There's things that have been left out and things that I properly have forgotten. This is the current draft for the voiceover:
Hi, my name is ????? and I'm here to tell you about the Ubuntu release schedule.
Every six months a new Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server release is produced.
Each release is supported for 18 months. (perhaps this should be in years?)
Upgrades to new versions of Ubuntu are and always will be free of charge.
Every two years, a LTS version is released.
LTS is a abbreviation for Long term support
With the Long Term Support (perhaps just LTS) version you get 3 years support on Ubuntu Desktop.
There is no extra fee for the LTS version, the very best work is available to everyone on the same free terms.
There is 5 years support on the LTS Server release, which makes it ideal for enterprise users making large deployments.
The official name of an Ubuntu release uses the year and month of the release as the version number.
If the release is delayed the version number changes accordingly.
The first Ubuntu release was Ubuntu 4.10 and was released in 2004 on October 20.
Since (the actual release date may change and) humans tend to prefer names rather than numbers, Ubuntu releases are also given codenames.
The codenames, uses an adjective and an animal with the same first letter. With the exception of the first three releases, code names are in alphabetical order.
Visit ubuntu.com for more information
Thanks for watching

I'm still looking for someone to record the actual voiceover - preferably someone who speaks native English. Anyone?
I desperately need help with this, so if you want to contribute in any way, I will appreciate it. Also, if you think this project is a waste of time, please let me know :-)

Jan 3, 2010

Enna Media Center

By now there's a few really good media center application available for Linux, and today yet another joins the game. The very first release of Enna Media Center (v0.4.0) has came out!

Benjamin Zores, the project leader for the GeeXbox project and long-time MPlayer developer, has announced the first public (beta) release of Enna. Enna is a multi-media player that will be at the heart of the GeeXbox 2.0 distribution and is available as a separate program for those using other Linux distributions.

This project is still very very young and still lacks many features compared to something like XBMC, but Enna is said to be much smaller in terms of size, dependencies and resources consumption. Although we have XBMC, Moovida and LinuxMCE, it's always nice to see a new competitor on the block.

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic users can have a quick try at it, through apt-get, the whole stuff having been packaged for. Just add the following line to your /etc/apt/sources.list file:
deb http://packages.geexbox.org/ karmic main
Once done, you may just install Enna through the following command:
aptitude update
aptitude install enna

More information about Enna can be found in this blog post.

- http://gxben.wordpress.com/2010/01/03/first-public-enna-0-4-0-release/
- http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Nzg1NA