All posts by Sayantan Das

About Sayantan Das

Sayantan is a Sr. IT Consultant working at Srinsoft Technologies, Chennai. He has over six years of work experience with more than four years as a Linux System Administrator. He is a Linux enthusiast and a blogger. He is also a regular contributor to the Ubuntu Manual.

spotify

[Tutorial] Install new Spotify on Linux systems

Popular music streaming service Spotify has updated its native Linux client. The Spotify Linux client now stands at version 0.9.10 . The new client includes “a darker theme, refreshed typography and rounded iconography“.

The visual improvements bring the streaming service’s Linux desktop client on par with other platforms. Updated native clients for other popular platforms were released a few weeks earlier. The Spotify official blog says that it’s their best looking client ever and will make it easier to search music than before.

Our new design makes accessing your favourite music smoother than ever before. The new dark theme and refined interface lets the content come forward and ‘pop’, just like in a cinema when you dim the lights

The new design and the dark theme goes well with the default Ubuntu theme, Ambiance. The play queue and the track change notification now uses the Ubuntu notifications properly and shortcut to the client sits integrated in the sound indicator on the top panel nicely. Apart from the visual niceties, Spotify Linux client also comes with improvements under the hood. Notable changes are

  • OpenSSL is now version 1.0.x
  • Local files playback works with libavprec54

64 bit only

The Linux client however, is available only for 64 bit at the moment. 32 bit builds are being tested currently and will be released once stable. While most of you may be using 64bit builds, there are many out there who still run 32 bit builds and for them its going to be a test of patience.

Installation: Debian based systems

In Ubuntu, you can install Spotify via ppa repository. To add the ppa repository use the following command in the terminal

sudo sh -c 'echo "deb http://repository.spotify.com/ stable non-free" > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/spotify.list'
sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys 94558F59
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install spotify-client

If you do not like to use the command line, you can always do it the GUI way. Open Ubuntu Software Centre , then go to Edit -> Software Sources -> Other Software -> Add.

Add

deb http://repository.spotify.com/ stable non-free

Click Add Source and Reload. Once completed, go back to Ubuntu Software Centre, search for Spotify and install.

Rpm based systems

There are no rpms available for Spofity however, you can convert the .deb installer to rpm using alien. Those who want to get their hands dirty, there is a detailed instruction available from Spotify devs which you can find below:

# 1. Get the right filename

SPOTIFY_DEB=http://repository.spotify.com/pool/non-free/s/spotify/spotify-client_0.9.10.17.g4129e1c.78-1_`uname -m | sed s/x86_64/amd64/ | sed s/i686/i386/`.deb

# 2. Download the package

wget repository.spotify.com/pool/non-free/s/spotify/$SPOTIFY_DEB

# 3. Extract the required parts

ar p $SPOTIFY_DEB data.tar.gz | tar -zx --strip-components=3 ./opt/spotify/spotify-client

# 4. Go in to the extracted folder

cd spotify-client

# 5. Setup symlinks to libs (NOTE: this script assumes Fedora 17, edit to suit your needs)

./linklibs-fedora.sh

# 6. Optionally register icons and menu item
Note: for the menu item to work, you need to ensure spotify is in your $PATH, either by symlinking it from /usr/bin or /usr/local/bin, or by adding the spotify-client folder to your $PATH ./register.sh

Note: Spotfiy still says the Linux desktop client is a preview version and you can expect some problems. For full details and workarounds please visit community.spotify.com

Telegram_UNOFFICIAL_featured

Install Webogram, a client for Telegram in Ubuntu 14.04

Telegram is a messaging application similar to WhatsApp and uses the internet to send and receive messages between its clients. We, Linux users, love open source products and Telegram founders claim that they will eventually open source the code. More on this can be read from “Why not open source everything? . Apart from the open source affinity, a few more reasons to use Telegram are :

  • secure messaging
  • cross platform compatibility
  • cloud based
  • free of subscription charges

The Telegram API is open for all developers to create apps for connecting to Telegram servers. Hence, there are many apps – a web app, a chrome app, and even Ubuntu Touch app are available. One such cross platform app for Telegram is Webogram or Telegram Unofficial. It’s a Google Chrome app, and can be used in Linux, Mac and Windows.  To install, go to Google Chrome web store and search for Telegram or Webogram and install it. The app is a wrapped web client for Telegram, however, it can be run without launching Google Chrome. It also provides a nice Unity launcher icon for the app.

Similar to WhatsApp, Telegram uses your phone number to register and so, you must have Telegram installed on your phone (assuming you have Android, iPhone or WP). For Webogram, you will need to enter your phone number when you first launch the app. The 5 digit key will be sent to your phone and you will be required to enter the key in the app to register it.  Once registered, your device will start synchronising, and chats sent from any of your registered devices will be synchronized across all devices within seconds.

Webogram_client

Webogram(Telegram Unofficial) is a nifty app, allowing access to a secure messaging application across multiple platforms and devices making connectivity truly cross platform . These features make Telegram a true alternative to WhatsApp!

ubuntu_logo

Ubuntu 14.10 set to be released on Oct 16

Ubuntu 14.10, the upcoming version of Ubuntu, now has a release date. The next version of Ubuntu, codenamed Utopic Unicorn, will feature the Unity 8 and the highly controversial Mir display manager on desktops. It is hoped that by that time, Ubuntu Touch, the mobile and tablet version of Ubuntu, will also get a stable and usable release for daily use. 

The tentative release date for Ubuntu 14.10 ‘Utopic Unicorn’ is October 16; however, it is subject to change. The detailed release schedule as per Ubuntu wiki is as follows:

  • Alpha 1 – June 26th (for opt-in flavours)
  • Alpha 2 – July 24th (for opt-in flavours)
  • Feature Freeze — August 21st
  • Beta 1 – August 28th (for opt-in flavours)
  • UI Freeze — September 11th
  • Final Beta – September 25th
  • Kernel Freeze — October 2nd
  • Release Candidate – October 9th
  • Final Release – October 16th

Alpha1, Alpha2 and Beta 1 as usual will not be released by Ubuntu but will be by its flavours like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu-Gnome and others.

 

 

ubuntu trusty

How to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS from previous versions

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is going to be released today, April 17, depending on where you are. Since this is an LTS release and arguably one of the most feature complete and stable releases till date, users will be very eager to upgrade from earlier versions of Ubuntu.This post is a guide on how to to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS from various earlier versions of Ubuntu.

Upgrade from Ubuntu 12.04.x LTS to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

First up, is the upgrade procedure from the older LTS release, 12.04. Precise pangolin was the first LTS released with Unity. It wasn’t the best when it was released but slowly with consistent updates, it became a good LTS release. Canonical will provide updates to Ubuntu 12.04 untill  2017.

  • Users upgrading from the previous LTS will need to check if update checker is enabled in Software & Updates
  • “Notify me of a new Ubuntu version” should have For long-term support versions selected

ubuntu_precise_updatemgr

  • Run update-manager from the dash to check

Selection_238

  • If no update is found, then refresh the repositories to check again
  • The notification for a new release will show up in the top

ubuntu_precise2trusty_update

precise2trusty-channels

  • Then select Upgrade
  • If your system/graphics card is not compatible with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, you may receive the following message

precise2trusty-upgrade-warn

  • If you want to continue, click yes
  • Select Start Upgrade to start the download and installation of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS packages

precise2trusty-start-upgrade

ubuntu-precise2trusty-upgrade

  • If you want to keep your settings, select default options when questions pop up during upgrade
  • Remove the obsolete packages as this will free up space
  • If however, you see Ubuntu is removing some packages you require, hit the Keep button

precise2trusty-remove-pkgs

  • Reboot once the Restart pop-up message appearsprecise2trusty-reboot
  • Enjoy the new stable Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

ubuntu-trusty

Upgrading from Ubuntu 12.10/13.04

Upgrading from 13.04 to 14.04 is officially not supported but I have had success multiple times. This will involve a little bit of command line – 6 steps to be precise. Ubuntu 12.10 is another release which is reaching EOL in April . To upgrade from Ubuntu 12.10, replace raring with quantal in the steps below

1.Change the Ubuntu code name from Raring Ringtail to Trusty Tahr

sudo sed -i 's/raring/trusty/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

2. Disable third party PPAs (optional, see note)

cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d
 sudo rename 's/(.*)/$1.bak/' *
 sudo find . -type f -name "*" -print | xargs sed -i 's/raring/trusty/g'

3. Update the repositories and upgrade

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

4. Reinstall ubunut-desktop package

sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop

5. Update grub and initramfs

sudo update-grub && sudo update-initramfs -u

6. Reboot your machine

Upgrading from Ubuntu 13.10

Upgrading from Ubuntu 13.10 to Ubuntu 14.04 is very simple. You will have to follow the same steps as given in the first section – upgrade Ubuntu 12.04.x to Ubuntu 14.04.

ubuntu_saucy_update_mgr

  • Press Alt+F2 and type update-manager -d

update-manager

  • The new update manager displays the available Ubuntu 14.04 in a slightly different UI

saucy2trusty-upgrade saucy2trusty-upgrade-auth

  • Authenticate to continue with upgrade
  • Continue following the on-screen instructions and select default values when asked for input
  • Reboot to enjoy new Ubuntu 14.04 LTS
ubuntu_trusty_lockscreen_featured

Ubuntu 14.04 gets new lock screen and borderless windows

Canonical is making it really hard not to like Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Last week, I discussed about the improvements and new features which has landed in Ubuntu 14.04. Since then, two new features have been added. Both of them have been previewed in earlier development cycles but never made it to a release build, until now.

Now Canonical is introducing brand new lock screen in Ubuntu 14.04, which is simply gorgeous. We have seen glimpses of this lock screen in the past. The proposal for this change was given way back in 2011.The bug report can be found here.  The new lock screen is handled by LightDM and so it resembles the login screen. Unlike the previous lock screen, it now integrates well with the rest of the OS.  Some of the system indicators such as sound, calendar (no meetings requests are displayed), user switching menu and language indicator are accessible while the screen is locked. Locking the screen does not stop music or video playback.

Another notable is borderless application windows. Borderless application windows were proposed during 11.04 development cycle. Due to certain limitations and issues with Unity 2D, the plan to implement this feature was dropped. With the new CSS themeing capabilities and anti aliasing features that were recently added in Ubuntu 14.04, this feature can now be rolled out without issues.

ubuntu-trusty-borderless-before-after

Although, this change may not be noticeable in all apps, as the borders were only 1 px thick, it does give a different look for certain applications like the gnome-terminal. Overall, it improves the look of the open apps.

ubuntu_trusty_community_featured

Ubuntu 14.04 default and community wallpapers revealed

Continuing the new trend of adding community wallpapers to the default Ubuntu installation, Ubuntu devs released today 11 community contributed wallpapers to be included in the latest iteration of Ubuntu, 14.04 LTS. These 11 wallpapers were chosen from a community wallpaper contest which ended on 5th March. Shortly after releasing the community wallpapers, the default wallpaper was also released.

This release of Ubuntu is an LTS release, and with the slew of new features and improvements being added to this release, the icing on the cake would have been an excellent default wallpaper and a good set of community contributed wallpapers.

Alas, this was not meant to be. The default wallpaper of Ubuntu 14.04 is a big let down. The experimentation with purple colour and the shades could have and should have stopped with the last release. Unfortunately, that continued. This time, it has lines. In the blog post at design.canonical.com graphic designer Michal Izydorczyk says:

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been working on the new Ubuntu Wallpaper. The wallpaper has become an integral part of the Ubuntu brand, the strong colours and gradated flow are powerful important elements. We realised this when looking from a distance at someone laptop it really does shout UBUNTU.

And he says more :

We spent some time …thinking how to connect the old with the new and how to make the transition smooth. When we got the composition right we started to play with colours, we tried all our Ubuntu complimentary colours but we were not entirely happy [as they]didn’t feel like a next step from our last wallpaper…

I really could not find any connection with the transition and colours and all that Michal talked about. For me, the default wallpaper is just not appealing. Perhaps I do not understand art!

Below you will find all the wallpapers to be included with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. Do let us know how you like the new wallpapers in the comments.

[gss ids=”22790,22781,22780,22778,22777,22776,22775,22774,22773,22772,22771,22770,22769″]

The community wallpapers are good but I expected better. Many of my personal favourites from the contest were not included. Out of the 11 chosen wallpapers, I really like only 4. Some of them are good but rather depressing (gloomy sky, foggy forest). Surprisingly, there is no wallpaper featuring the mascot of this release, the Tahr. The bug report does talk about including another wallpaper of the Tahr. It has not been approved yet.

ubuntu_trusty_features

What to expect in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Every two years a Long Term Support (LTS) release of Ubuntu is made available to the public. Every LTS is supported for 5 years by Canonical. This year is the year of LTS release and its just 1 month away. Canonical will be keen to keep up the stability of LTS release like it has done in the past. Lets have a quick look at what can we expect from this year’s LTS release.

Appearance and Theme Improvements: Anti Aliasing and Smaller launcher icons

The introduction of GTK3 CSS-themed window decorations for Unity 7 has brought  antialiased corners to all windows. This means that the generated images by compiz i.e. window corners will have a smoother image. Launcher icons can now be reduced to 16 px.

ubuntu_trusty_iconsize

Refined spread mode

  • The newly-updated Unity 7.x retains only active icons in spread mode, keeping on the active icon in focus; for example, opening a folder with Nautilus and opening another folder with Nautilus, retains as active icon on the Unity launcher the Nautilus’ icon, while dimming out all icons on the Unity launcher except the Ubuntu logo.
  • When all windows are open in spread mode, you can type the name(window title) of the open window to pick the window of your choice

unity_trusty_spread

Smoother Window Resizing

Open Windows can be resized smoothly . A video has been added to demonstrate the change along with the locally integrated menus.

ubuntu_touch_scaled

Canonical to show off Mir enabled Ubuntu Touch at MWC

The latest development of Ubuntu for phones and tablets is on show at this year’s Mobile World Congress – including the visually stunning “scopes”, a new mobile UI paradigm” reads a statement from Canonical.

With just a few days left for the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event at Barcelona, Canonical is pulling out all stops to show off Ubuntu Touch to the world.  MWC takes place every year in February and is the world’s largest exhibition and conference congregation for the mobile industry.

Canonical was able to make a good first impression last year when it showed off the Ubuntu Touch concept OS. The Ubuntu maker will be hoping make a similar impression with the device manufacturers and carriers this year. This will be a make or break event for Canonical.

All is not bad for Canonical though, as earlier this week, Canonical announced deals with two mobile device manufacturers who will be shipping Ubuntu Touch in their phones. The partners are Meizu of China and bq of Spain. Looking at the manufacturers, who are midsize players in their respective regions, Ubuntu Touch phones are expected first ship to these regions before it reaches the rest of the world. Starting with the Chinese market may be a good thing as Ubuntu is quite popular in China. With the convergence plan to kick in from October this year, users will easily be able to assiciate with the OS.

Ubuntu Touch has been under heavy development for the past year. Yet, the mobile OS is still unstable and not fit for regular consumption. There is time however, as the stable release is not out until third week of April when Ubuntu 14.04 is released. Ubuntu Touch will feature the much controversial Mir display server and Unity 8 which is specifically designed for the mobile and tablet interface. Canonical is promoting Ubuntu Touch for tablets as well and has gone on record saying that there are big improvements made to the tablet experience especially for the 7″ and 10″ form factors.

There is a hackathon session on writing and integrating HTML5 apps for Ubuntu during the MWC and a Nexus 7 (2013) will be up for grabs for the lucky ones. If you are vising MWC, you can find Ubuntu in the App Planet Hall 8.1, stand 8.1E49.

Source: Ubuntu

ubuntu-file-manager

Ubuntu’s convergence plan starts with File Manager

For the past year, Ubuntu and Canonical’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth has been talking about full convergence i.e., the same OS and its applications can be run on desktops, servers and mobile devices. Canonical plans to start the converge from its Ubuntu 14.10 release cycle. However, no activity has been seen on the development front, until now.

A new thread in the Ubuntu developer mailing list has been started by Ubuntu developer Oliver Grawert on convergent apps. In the thread, titled “Default File Manager with Unity8 in future desktops” , Oliver has detailed out initial requirements for a new file manager to be developed and shipped with Unity 8 for desktops. The idea is to use the Ubuntu Touch file manager, which is already in development and build on top of it.

Another file manager?

Ubuntu and GNOME’s default file manager, Nautilus, was a great file manager until the GNOME developers decided to drop some important features thus reducing the functionality by many folds.

With all the complaints and unhappyness about Nautilus upstream ripping out things like dual pane and other beloved and helpful features I expect we can do better [sic]

Apart from Nautilus, there are numerous file managers available for Linux users. Ubuntu could have picked up Nemo, the forked Nautilus, which Linux Mint uses. However, that would lead to extra work for the devs as it’s not built with Qt. Dolphin, KDE’s default file manager, is built with Qt but has too many dependencies with KDE.

While development on the file manager app for Ubuntu Touch is on full swing, work specific to the desktop version is yet to begin. The thread looks to be initiated to discuss and gather requirements from the developers and the Ubuntu community (I sincerely hope the devs include “Sort by Group” feature, available in Dolphin(KDE)).

Interestingly, Jono Bacon, Ubuntu’s community manager, has hinted that a preview of the File Manager app may be shipped with Unity 8 (preview) in Ubuntu 14.04.

Linux-mobile

How Linux dominates the mobile market

Linux is a free and Open Source operating system built by thousands of contributors across the world. The Linux kernel was developed by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Linux gained good traction after its release and in the years has become one of the most secure operating systems in the world. Linux is used by almost every organisation in the world at some point. Linux runs on mobile phones, tablets, servers, desktops, supercomputers and in embedded systems such as network routers, building automation controls, televisions and video game consoles. Linux was originally developed for Intel x86-based personal computers. Over the years, Linux been ported to other hardware platforms such as Arm, x86_64. It is a leading operating system on servers, mainframe computers and supercomputers.

Linux, released under GPL license, which allows free distribution of code, has helped IT giants and startups alike start develop their own operating system. Some of these operating systems were developed to counter the runaway success of Apple’s iOS while others were developed to cash in on the vast opportunity of the touch friendly smartphone and tablet market. Most notable of them is Google’s Android project. Other notable projects under development include Tizen, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch, etc. Linux has quickly come grown to dominate the mobile market with Android commanding close to 80% of the market share of the world smartphone market. With a number of Linux based mobile OS set to hit the market in 2014, the market share for Linux based mobile operating systems is set to increase further. Let’s look at a few mobile operating systems which are currently in the market and in development.

Android
Android is developed by Google and released as a free and open source operating system. Android back-end is based on the mainline Linux kernel. The front end GUI however, uses Dalvik run time for rendering the niceties. Android is the most popular smartphone and tablet operating system. As of November 2013, Android’s share of the smartphone market was 80%. Android also surpassed the iPad’s market share in Q3 2012.

android40-3

CyanogenMOD
A clean,free, open source version of Android with added original and third-party code. CyanogenMod offers features and options which are not found in the official version distributed by mobile vendors. CyanogenMod does not contain spyware or bloatware and contains performance and other interface enhancements. CyanogenMOD does not track installs but allows voluntary reporting. As of December 2013, CyanogenMod has recorded over 10 million active installs.

cyanogmod

Sailfish OS
Nokia chose to go the Windows way sponsored by Microsoft and fired MeeGo developers. Sailfish OS was built by Jolla, a company started by these ex Nokia employees. It is essentially a continuation of MeeGo with whole lot of new features. The UI is touch friendly and built with QML and Qt Quick. Sailfish OS is not completely open source, the UI is proprietary. Currently there is only one smartphone running Sailfish OS. Android apps compatibility has been announced for Sailfish, which will enable most Android apps to run on Sailfish OS unaltered.

wide_Jolla_devices

Firefox OS
Firefox OS is an open source operating system being built by Mozilla Foundation. Firefox OS has a Linux kernel and the user interface is written in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. A few phones have been launched with Firefox OS pre-installed in South American and other emerging markets. Firefox OS loaded phones are currently low end and cheaper compared to Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Tablet optimized Firefox OS was recently shown off by Mozilla. Firefox OS can be used in smart TVs as well.

firefoxos1.1_0

Ubuntu Touch
Ubuntu Touch is the mobile version of world’s most popular free and open-source Linux based operating system, Ubuntu. Ubuntu Touch is still under heavy development and is expected to have release its first stable version in April 2014. When complete, Ubuntu Touch will run on smartphones, tablets, TVs and smart-screens. The UI of Ubuntu Touch gesture based and touch friendly and uses Qt-5 and runs on Mir display server.  Apps can be developed in QML and HTML 5. Ubuntu’s convergence theory states that applications designed for the desktop platform will run on Touch and vice versa. Ubuntu Touch is being developed by Canonical and the Ubuntu community.

ubuntu_edge_phone

Tizen
After Intel’s failed MeeGo project with Nokia, a new project was started by Samsung and Intel. It was named Tizen. Tizen has roots of Nokia/Intel’s MeeGo and Samsung’s Bada mobile operating systems. Samsung is betting big on Tizen to be an alternative to Android and other touch based smartphone operating systems. Currently there are no phones running on Tizen but the coming MWC may give us a glimpse of the new Tizen phones.
Tizen_SmartPhone

webOS
Another Linux based open source operating system for smart TVs now owned by LG. Originally developed by Palm, HP acquired Palm and webOS along with it. After a disastrous debut on tablets, webOS was discontinued. HP open sourced webOS and released it as Open webOS. In 2013, LG bought webOS from HP to use it on its smart TVs.
Open WebOS
Linux based free and open source operating systems allow great deal of community involvement in the development of these operating systems. It also enables to share some common core technologies, for example, various software frameworks originally developed for Maemo and MeeGo are being used by Ubuntu Touch, Mer is being used by Sailfish OS etc. Apps built with HTML5 will work on Android, Ubuntu Touch, Tizen and Firefox OS thus reducing a great deal of work for the developers. Android apps run on Sailfish OS and with slight modifications on Ubuntu Touch. These standards set by open source operating systems make it very easy for the developers to work, with which is not possible with closed source ecosystems such as Windows Phone, Blackberry and iOS. As the operating systems mature, developing apps for these Linux based operating systems will become easier, more and more developers will start to move away from these closed source proprietary operating systems.