All posts by Swapnil Bhartiya

About Swapnil Bhartiya

A free software fund-a-mental-ist and Charles Bukowski fan, Swapnil also writes fiction and tries to find cracks in the paper armours of proprietary companies. Swapnil has been covering Linux and Free Software/Open Source since 2005.

Secure Blackphone starts shipping

./themukt reports that Blackphone has started shipping:

Blackphone, an Android-based smartphone developed by Silent Circle, SGP Technologies and Geeksphone, is now shipping. The phone became a sensation during Mobile World Congress as it offered extreme privacy of communication. After the NSA revelations made by Edward Snowden, there is a huge demand for services or devices which offer privacy from NSA and other surveillance agencies.

Read more….

Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” KDE released!

The Mukt reports:

The Linux Mint team has announced the release of Linux Mint 17 KDE codenamed Qiana. It’s based on KDE Software Compilation 4.13.0. There are many improvements in things like ‘update manager’ which improves the use experience and also show which type of updates are these. Then the device manager has also improved and it can install drivers even when the machine can’t connect to the Internet as most drivers are available in the iso itself.

Read more…

7 Improvements The Linux Desktop Needs

Bruce Byfield writes on Datamation

In the last fifteen years, the Linux desktop has gone from a collection of marginally adequate solutions to an unparalleled source of innovation and choice. Many of its standard features are either unavailable in Windows, or else available only as a proprietary extension. As a result, using Linux is increasingly not only a matter of principle, but of preference as well.

Yet, despite this progress, gaps remain. Some are missing features, others missing features, and still others pie-in-the sky extras that could be easily implemented to extend the desktop metaphor without straining users’ tolerance of change.

Read more…


Unlock your Nexus device and install 4.4.3 [Tutorial]

Google has published 4.4.3 update for its Nexus devices without telling us anything about it. There is no official announcement or blog about it. The reports are coming in that OTA updates are also being pushed. If you can’t wait for OTA, then you can upgarde your Nexus device manually. Just take back-up of data such as images or downloaded files. Once done, follow these steps (courtesy: Ubuntu Wiki)

First download the appropriate image for your device from this link.

How to update?

If you are using any Ubuntu-based system install fastboot by running this command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-device-flash

If your Nexus device is unlocked then you can skip this step and move to next one, if not then continue:
1. Boot into the bootloader (power off the device and then power it on by holding the power button + volume up + volume down)
2. When you see the bootloader, connect the device to the PC
3. Open the terminal and run

sudo fastboot oem unlock

Now Nexus screen will show whether you want to unlock or now and also tell you which hardware keys to use to select ‘yes’. Use volume key to select the option you want and power key to select it.

Note: If unlocking fails, you may have to enable the USB debugging. Reboot the Nexus in Android. Enable the developer mode of your device by tapping seven times on the ‘Build number’. Then go to Developer option and select USB debugging. Now repeat the above steps.

Once you have unlocked the device, Nexus will take some time to reboot into unlocked system. In my case I had to once again enable the developer mode, and USB debugging so if that be the case you can checn under settings if the USB debugging is still enabled.

Insatll new Android updates

Now extract the Nexus image that you have downloaded on your PC, cd to the extracted folder and as run the following command:

run adb reboot-bootloader

Once your Nexus boots in to the boot loader, run the following command:

sudo ./

Wait for it to complete and once done your Nexus will boot into the brand new Android.

Please keep in mind, don’t disconnect the USB during any of the above opearations.


Samsung introduces first Tizen phone to compete with Windows and Android

Samsung now has its mobile eggs in three baskets. The company has introduced its first Tizen powered smartphone called Samsung Z. Samsung is already using Tizen in its smart cameras and smart watches.

Though Samsung has refrained from mentioning Android, they do claim that its fast and efficient. “The Tizen platform delivers a fast, optimal performance with improved memory management.” Samsung claims that Tizen offers a fasterstartup time and immediate multi-tasking capabilities. The company also brags about “superb 2D and 3D graphic qualities, smoother scrolling and an improved rendering performance for web browsing.”

Here are the specs of the phone, Samzung Z:


It’s unclear what Samsung wants to achieve with Tizen, when it’s already a market leader with Android. Maybe Samsung wants a more Apple-like approach to own and control the entire stack – from software and hardware. Samsung is already known for vendor lock and keeps non-Samsung Android users out of its ecosystem (if you have Samsung smart TV or BD players, the Anroid app for such devices is available only for Samsung devices).

One huge disadvantage Tizen has when compared with Android is the huge and very well curated app and content ecosystem that Google has created. As far as Samsung Z is concerned, it’s an orginary phone and doesn’t excite from hardware point of view – whether it be design or sensors that come with it. .

What’s Tizen?

Tizen is a Linux-based, Open Source operating system targeted at devices like smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops, smart-camera, cars, etc. The roots of the OS goes back to LiMo Platform – a software platform for mobile devices. The LiMO foundation was formed back in 2007 and Samsung was one of the founding members. After failed attempts with Moblin and then Maemo (as Nokia started to kill its open source projects under Stephen Elop to become a trusted Microsoft mistress) Intel joined LiMo and then the projects was renamed to Tizen, The Linux Foundation took over the hosting of the project. The Tizen code is build on top of Samsung Linux Platform (SLP). So Tizen has been a Samsung baby from the very beginning, it would be incorrect to say Samsung is now adoption Tizen over Android.

Samsung will start selling the device in Russia and will later expand to other markets. In order to expand a developer community around Tizen Samsung is starting off with “a special promotional program to all developers for one year. Furthermore, Samsung plans to host a Tizen local app challenges in Russia and CIS countries to enrich the Tizen eco-system at the launch of the device.


Linus Torvalds reads mean tweets

Linus Torvalds has a great sense of humor (depending on your taste of humor), as long as you are not at the receiving end. But there is nothing funnier than him reading some tweets targeting him. The Linux Foundation has published a video where Linus is reading some tweets on the lines of Jimmy Kimmel’s Mean Tweets series.

Here is the video.

Can you find some really funny tweets targeting Linus and share with us in comments below?


Here is the first preview of KDE’s Plasma Next

The KDE community is working hard on the next major release of KDE software, most notably Framework 5 and Plasma Next. While Arch users can already play with KDE Framework 5 packages via extra repository and also run some components of Plasma Next via kde-unstable repo (which already has KWin), rest of those who can’t get Arch to work (though we have a very user-friendly tutorial), they can get a preview of Plasma Next using the live image of Fedora.

Daniel Vrátil, a Red Hat developer, says
, “First, our Copr repository with KDE Frameworks has been updated to 4.99.0 release, so go get it! All frameworks are co-installable with KDE 4, so you can develop against KF5 without needing any special setup. Also KDE Frameworks 5 were approved as feature for Fedora 21, which means that in next Fedora release, we will ship all Frameworks in the Fedora repositories! There are already some packages imported into rawhide, the rest will follow in next weeks.”

So what all will you get to see? Daniel says they “packaged as much as we could (but still not everything!), including Rekonq, Dolphin, System Settings, Baloo, Milou and more – all built against Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5 of course.”

He are some screenshots of Plasma Next running in VM on my system:

[gss ids=”27602,27603,27604,27605,27606″]

If you want to test Plasma Next, download the live iso of Fedora from the link below.

[epiclink link = ‘’ color = ‘btn’ target = ‘_blank’ shorticon = ‘left’ itype = ‘ icon-download-alt’ icol = ‘black’ ]Fedora Plasma Next Preview[/epiclink]

China bans Windows 8 on government computers

China has banned use of Windows 8 in government offices. Windows 8 is the latest version of Windows which is already facing hard time due to its revamped user interface. Chinese decision is a major blow for Microsoft which is struggling to find its place in the post PC era as Windows market shares are declining and it’s hard core partners are adopting Linux based Chrome OS. The move comes at an interesting time as the US government has filed criminal charges against China accusing them of economic espionage.

China was never a revenue generating market for Microsoft despite its sheer size. China has twice as many Internet users as the US has, yet this market is out of the reach of Microsoft.

“All desktops, laptops and tablet PCs to be purchased by central state organs must be installed with OS other than Windows 8, according to an online statement by the Central Government Procurement Center,” reports Chinese news agency Xinhua.

Most government computers in China (over 70%) still run Windows XP which stopped getting support this April, turning all these computers into low hanging fruits for hackers (NSA must be happy with this situation). China supposedly don’t want to make the same mistake and would rather invest resources in developing its own GNU/Linux based operating system.

Given accusations of close relation between NSA and Microsoft, it may be a wise decision for China and other countries to move away from Windows and adopt Linux.


Cisco tells Obama to stop hacking their hardware for spying, in response US sues China

What is US government’s response to CISCO’s complain that NSA’s activities are harming the businesses of US companies? They sued China. That’s not a joke, US government has filed ‘criminal’ charges against Chinese military for ‘economic’ espionage.

Cisco is not the only company that has raised issues with the US government. Almost all major companies – including Facebook and Google have voiced their complaint over NSA’s hijacking of their communication.

Who is the bad guy?

According to reports NSA was listening to calls of European leaders; NSA had hijacked Chinese companies to create backdoors and spy on them; NSA compromised Iran’s nuclear program; NSA is listening to all phone calls that goes and comes from Bahamas and what is Obama administration doing?

While US accuses China of ‘economic espionage’, NSA itself has been doing the same, according to Edward Snowden.

Snowden earlier told German TV ARD “If there’s information at Siemens that’s beneficial to U.S. national interests — even if it doesn’t have anything to do with national security — then they’ll take that information nevertheless.”

In another story NYTimes reported that NSA was involved with spying on trade talks involving Indonesian government. NSA, in coordination with its Australian counterpart, was also spying on a US-based law firm which was involved in the trade talks.

NYTimes reported, “A top-secret document, obtained by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden, shows that an American law firm was monitored while representing a foreign government in trade disputes with the United States.”

All this information is already in public, still the US government has the audacity to sue the Chinese government. Is this the NSA reform Mr President promised us?

We may start asking ourselves, who is the bad guy here!


Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon leaves Canonical to join Xprize

Looks like it’s time for Open Source community managers to mover on. In the month of April openSUSE community manager announced that he was leaving SUSE to join ownCloud and now Jono Bacon, the rock star community manager of Ubuntu is leaving Canonical.

Jono will be joining the XPRIZE Foundation as a senior director of community. XPRIZE focuses on solving major problems facing humanity, according to Jono.

Jono is leaving Canonical not because of the negativity surrounding the company due to some controversial decisions they made. Jono himself was caught in on controversy when he called Richard M Stallman’s stand on Ubuntu’s privacy as a childish, but he was quick to apologize.

Jono clarifies that he is “not leaving Canonical due to problems, I am moving on to a new opportunity at XPRIZE. I actually wasn’t looking for a move; I was quite content in my role at Canonical, but XPRIZE came out of nowhere, and it felt like a good next step to move forward to.”

Jono has been one of the major forces that has build the Ubuntu community as we see today. So his departure may have some impact on community relationship at Canonical. However he is leaving behind a team of developers and communicators like Daniel Holbach, David Planella, Michael Hall, Nicholas Skaggs, and Alan Pope who do a commendable job at interacting with the community.