All posts by Saurav Modak


Qt 5.3 Released

Digia has released an all new version of Qt, a C++ framework for creating intuitive cross-platform apps. Starting from Qt 5.2, the framework supports building apps for the Android and iOS platform. Version 5.3 adds some more features on the top of it and also stabilizes Qt for cross-platform mobile programming.

The following video covers some of the aspects which will be available in Qt 5.3.

[youtube id=”Lslokk60BJ0″]

As said, this version focuses more on stability and usability. As noted from Qt blog:

The Qt 5.2 packages still had a couple of rough edges, especially the first-time user experience for iOS and Android wasn’t as good as it could have been. With Qt 5.3, most of these issues are now resolved. We have also conducted a series of usability tests for installation and first-time usage of Qt and have fixed most of the issues found.

Apart from bug fixes, some new features of Qt 5.3 are:

  • Qt for Windows Runtime Beta: This will make it easier for developer to make Qt apps on Windows 8 enabled desktop, tablets and laptops. Over thatm this platform also supports ARM devices such as Microsft Surface tablets.
  • Official support for QNX 6.6 and QNX 6.5 SP1
  • QquickWidget
  • Compiled Qt Quick: for creating Qt apps in a RAD environment.
  • Purchasing API: Integrated with Google Play Store and the Apple app store.

You can download the binaries from this site. Qt comes with free and open-source license as well as commercial license with premium support from Digia.



Fedora Project Leader Quits

Robyn Bergeron, project lead of The Fedora Project for over two years had decided to step down from the role. As noted in her blog, she thanked all people associated with the project and said she is “much obliged” to others for the experience she had working with Fedora till date.

Robyn worked as a program manager for Fedora before, and wore multiple hats like marketing team leader, Cloud SIG wrangler and rest as noted in her Wiki page. She blogged regarding her experience:

“Being in this role certainly is humbling and daunting at times, and amazingly gratifying at others, but it has also afforded me an almost overwhelming opportunity to learn about anything and everything going on in open source outside the Fedora universe, with the hopes of bringing those people, projects, and ideas into our folds. Some of it is incredibly interesting, and some of it brings incredibly creative thinking into solving problems that we face in the technology space today — and, like those before me, it has also led me inevitably into exploring new opportunities.”

She thinks that its the best time to step down as Fedora 20 is already released and the next version of Fedora is on the way. Fedora 21 is scheduled to release October this year. It has some exciting features which will make Fedora more ready for the cloud. Along with that, it will ship with SDDM as the default display manager instead of KDM, latest version of KDE frameworks 5 Mate desktop 1.8, Java 8 and others.


Calligra 2.8 and Krita 2.8.0 Released

Calligra, a free and open source KDE office suite and Krita, a KDE desktop friendly painting and graphics editing software have received major updates. Both of the applications fit in the KDE desktop well, and are powered by Qt libraries. This is a great news for KDE users and lovers who use these applications for their work everyday.

Some major updates in Calligra office suite are:

  • The word processor, Words received support for comments
  • Sheets has better support for pivot tables
  • Kexi now runs on Windows and about 30 major issues has been fixed in this visual database application.
  • Flow now supports SVG based stencils.

Krita, which is a part of Calligra family now has a successful build for windows. This is the first time the application is being ported to other operating system other than GNU/Linux. Among other updates, this application now also has better tablet support, high quality scaling for the OpenGL canvas, wrap around mode, layer picker and other small changes

You can download the source code of these application from this link and compile them yourself. Or you may wait for your package manager to do that for you and release the binary for your distro.


Linux Mint Debian 201403 Released

The Linux Mint team has released a new edition of Linux Mint Debian which comes with a revamped desktop and updated software. Unlike other editions of Linux Mint which use Ubuntu repositories and packages as the base, Linux Mint Debian uses Debian testing repositories for its packages.

Some of the highlights of this release are:

  • Linux Mint Update Pack 8
  • Cinnamon 2.0
  • MATE 1.6
  • Latest Mint tools
  • Support for EFI and GPT

The release is available for both 32 and 64 bit architectures and requires a moderate PC with 1GB of RAM, 5GB diskspace and a VGA capable graphics card to run. As this edition uses Debian Testing, the OS is semi rolling and you don’t need to reformat every time a new edition releases. This is especially suitable for users who want a stable system which will run a long time without any major changes.

You can download Linux Mint Debian Edition in both Cinnamon and MATE editions from mirrors listed in this page. Torrent download is also available, in case you need a higher speed download and wish to reduce the load of Linux Mint servers.


Dell justifies charging £16.25 to install Mozilla Firefox

Computer and accessories manufacturer Dell is charging customers ₤16.25 to install free and open source software, Mozilla Firefox. This is quite shocking, as this browser is available free of cost and also its policy dictates not to charge users for its download or installation.

As reported by TheNextWeb, the Mozilla foundation was not aware of this practice by Dell and there has been no agreement between Mozilla and Dell to charge customers for the Firefox browser:

“There is no agreement between Dell and Mozilla which allows Dell or anyone else to charge for installing Firefox using that brand name,” Mozilla’s Vice President and General Counsel Denelle Dixon-Thayer told TNW. “Our trademark policy makes clear that this is not permitted and we are investigating this specific report.”

However, as per the following screenshot, customers do get charged of they opt for the browser while checking out online.


As per Mozilla’s trademark policy:

“If you are using the Mozilla Mark(s) for the unaltered binaries you are distributing, you may not charge for that product. By not charging, we mean the Mozilla product must be without cost and its distribution (whether by download or other media) may not be subject to a fee, or tied to subscribing to or purchasing a service, or the collection of personal information. If you want to sell the product, you may do so, but you must call that product by another name—one unrelated to Mozilla or any of the Mozilla Marks. Remember that we do not want the public to be confused.”

Dell, however clarified that the practice is justified as they are charging for the “service” not the “product”. The service ensures that the customers have a completely running and ready system when they get the product and the user doesn’t need to do any configuration or installation to use the system.


India’s NCERT recommends GNU/Linux for schools across the country

National Council Of Education, Research and Training (NCERT) has released a notification on their website which promotes the use of Free and Open Source software in Indian schools. This notice is released well in time, as other schools, colleges and government institutions in India are already moving to open source software to save costs and prevent vendor locking. NCERT is responsible for maintaining standards in most government and private schools and educational institutions in India.

Earlier CBSE, one of the major national education board, also made changes to the syllabus which made the curriculum vendor neutral. Years ago, the government of Kerela also migrated to GNU/Linux operating systems for schools, thus making one of the largest migrations to open source in India ever.

The advantages of moving to open source software are many, though most institutions adopt it to save cost over licensing. Other benefits include:

  • No vendor locking, and the institution can switch to software they like any time
  • The ability to choose over a large number of flavours of GNU/Linux and use the one that they like the best.
  • Ability to work in a standard, open format that is free from binary blobs and accessible to anyone.
  • Commercial support available on demand. Community support is free of cost.

The notification read:

The requirements of the curricula are not to be hardware or software specific. Undoing the general trend of limiting software to office applications, which are not only ill suited for educational purposes but also tend to narrow down the view of what computers and ICT can achieve, a wide range of software applications specifically designed for education are introduced. Use of proprietary software would become very expensive and make the implementation unviable. Therefore, Free and Open Source software have been suggested throughout the curricula. The use of FOSS applications will also obviate software piracy and enable customisation to suit local needs

You can have a look at the full notification here.


Canonical Releases the Most Complete and Stable Ubuntu Touch Image So Far

Just before the holiday season sets in, Canonical has a surprise gift for all Ubuntu mobile fans. A new Ubuntu Touch image has been released and this is claimed to be the most stable release so far. Along with that, this release boasts a new way to dual boot with Android. This is a giant new step and will be specially welcome by enthusiasts who would like to experiment Ubuntu on their phones, leaving existing Android system untouched.

The media player regression has been fixed so now you will be able to enjoy flawless video and music on the go. Along with that, this release, tagged as #79, also features latest Unity 8 and Mir, which will give users a completely new user experience on their phones. A great many bugs have been fixed in scopes, shell, download manager and the Unity UI Toolkit has got an overhaul.

Another release #80 also is available for public testing which has latest Unity 8 and pulseaudio packages. As the developers are off for holidays, no new releases have been planned before the new year, but users will be able to report bugs and test the release on their phones all this time.

This has been a great year for Ubuntu, specially after they announced Ubuntu for phones and went for a croudfunding campaign of Ubuntu Edge. Though the campaign was a failure, the mettle of Ubuntu as a mobile OS was recognized as it went to be one of the most financially backed campaign in crowdfunding history. Ubuntu Mobile has also got their first takers recently and we can expect them in our phones, maybe mid next year.

Wayland-Powered Hawaii 0.2 Desktop Released

The Maui project have released a completely new Wayland powered desktop named Hawaii 0.2, which promises to bring a new generation of desktop experience for GNU/Linux users. This desktop promises to bring a completely new out of box experience GNU experience for users and ships the latest and greatest open source software out there. The desktop environment uses Qt 5.2 as the toolkit backed by qtwayland module. Some other striking features of this release are:

  • Wayland 1.3 and Weston 1.3
  • Dconf
  • Polkit-Qt-1 with Qt 5 support

The desktop has an interactive app launcher, a brand new shell, panels and aims to provide all important services to make the desktop usable. Users will be amazed by the responsive user interface, multi-screen support, notification bubbles, click through notifications, lock screen and custom theming support.

There are no ISOs available yet, but if you are impatient enough, you can build it directly from source. Much unlike other desktop environments which rely on age old X Windows System, Hawaii is fully capable of running in Wayland. Popular desktop environments like Gnome, KDE etc have been planned to be ported soon in Wayland, but significant work hasn’t been done yet.


Will Linux power Amazon Drone and Google Robots?

While Amazon was planning to deliver goods via drones, Google’s Andy Rubin was already busy working on a project which is more droid like. Google “moonshot” an ambitious “10-year vision” for building state of the art robot hardware and software plans to change the whole robotics space in the course of time. And if we trust Google, which uses open source software in large scale, these robots may be well powered by Linux.

Earlier this year, Google has released a prototype of the self-driving car which had Linux running in its core. Ubuntu based self-driving Toyota Prius logged 500,000 miles of autonomous driving with no accidents caused by the computer. Its can be expected that rather than reinventing the while, Google engineers may use Linux in their drones too.

In the meantime, Google has quietly acquired seven robotics companies all over the world, which include Schaft, a Japanese tech company acclaimed for making humanoid robots. Other companies include Meka, Redwood Robotics, Industrial Perception, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss, and Holomni. From the scale of investment from Google, it can be confirmed that this is not just another toy project.

Some of the application areas which robotics can be useful include manufacturing and logistics. While not currently aimed for consumers, these robots will be a geat help in electronics assembly which is mostly manual.

There is a possibility that Robot Operating System (ROS) may be combined with Android, just like Rethink Wireless’ Baxter. There are already some engineers working to build a ROS compatible cloud services for robots, which can put this revolution one step forward.

In next one or two years maybe we will be able to see Linux powered robots in action. This will put forward another space which is run or dominated by Linux.


SteamOS will really help Linux on desktop – Linus Torvalds

Linus Torvalds praised Valve’s efforts to develop Linux based SteamOS and bring great gaming experience to living rooms. Speaking at LinuxCon in Edinburgh, Linus said that he is happy the way Valve is going and hopes that this will push others to take Linux seriously.

Last year Linus was heard badly criticizing Nvidia for their poor support of Linux drivers. However, with Valve announcing SteamOS and porting Steam and some of its games to GNU/Linux, Nvidia developers have recently fastened up developments and are now more approachable to community and Linux users.

I love the Steam announcements – I think that’s an opportunity to really help the desktop – Linus Torvalds

“I’m not just saying it’ll help us get traction with the graphics guys,” he said. “It’ll also force different distributors to realise if this is how Steam is going, they need to do the same thing because they can’t afford to be different in this respect. They want people to play games on their platform too. It’s the best model for standardisation, I think good standards are people doing things, saying ‘this is how we do it’ and being successful enough to drive the market.”

SteamOS was announced by Valve last month. Any user will be able to download and install the operating system on their machine. Also, Valve is currently collaborating with different hardware manufacturers to bring Steam consoles powered by SteamOS in market.