Tag Archives: Ubuntu


Ubuntu on Surface Pro 3 – not smooth yet but promising

Microsoft has made Surface Pro 3 tablet PC available for pre-order from May 21 and it didn’t take long for Linux enthusiasts to try Ubuntu 14.04 on it. And the results are quite promising! Surface pro 3 flaunts a decent hardware spec and it will definitely be a delight for any Linux user to run Ubuntu on it when all the components are supported.

The first sensible step is to take a system image backup of the Surface pro 3. The image size will vary depending on what is installed on the device but the process is reasonably fast. A separate drive with Windows 8.1 is also required to restore the image because once Linux is installed, the repair and restore function will be lost.

To install, connect a bootable pen drive with Ubuntu, press the Volume Down and Power keys till the Surface logo shows up, then release both. Once the USB boots up, you can reach the familiar Ubuntu install screen (with live and install options). The Ubuntu installation procedure remains the same.

Post installation most of the components work out of the box. WiFi works but detects only 2.4GHz networks. The touchpad on the Type Cover works, but not the keyboard. The virtual keyboard in the accessibility setting can be used for typing but it is still lacking in features on Ubuntu. The best option is to connect a USB keyboard. The pen works as a pointer and pressing it down works as a left-click, but as Bluetooth is not working out of the box the buttons on the pen do not work. There might be some issues with the pressure-sensitivity of Ubuntu’s pen implementation. While it is fast and smooth, the experience without type cover is not optimal. Just like the keyboard, the dock might also not work out of the box. As touch and WiFi work out of the box, KDE’s Plasma Active would be a better choice compared to Ubuntu on this device. However, the latest stable Kubuntu installation has issues on Surface Pro 3.

By the time the Surface Pro 3 is available at the outlets most of the issues might get fixed if the device grabs enough attention from developers. Here’s a short video of Ubuntu running on Surface Pro 3 recorded during the experiment.

[Source: Geek.com]


Cinnamon PPA will no longer be maintained for Ubuntu users

Gwendal Le Bihan, maintainer of the Cinnamon PPA, has confirmed he will be discontinuing the popular desktop environment. At least the stable releases the community has become accustomed to that is. The development of the Cinnamon desktop environment will continue through development builds in a separate nightly PPA.

Gwendal Le Bihan:

The stable PPA is indeed no longer being maintained.

The nightly PPA is being kept for development purposes and should not be used on any sort of production machine (it can and will break at any time).

To be honest, I don’t have an alternative to offer Ubuntu users at the moment, apart from switching to a distribution that does support Cinnamon. There are many such distributions out there, and I’m only hoping for someone to (finally) step up on Ubuntu’s side to provide proper packages to its users.

Someone from the Ubuntu community may step forward and provide stable builds for the masses considering the popularity Cinnamon has gathered.

Whether a stable PPA is provided or not this may drive more users to the increasingly popular Linux Mint, which supports Cinnamon by default.

Sources: OMG! UBUNTU!, Ask Ubuntu


Pinta Version 1.5 Released: Includes 90 Bug Fixes

Yesterday, after a year and a half, saw the release of the newest version of Pinta (version 1.5) image editor. The newest version includes a whopping 90 bug fixes and ad-in support. Pinta is a image editor based on Paint.Net and is a more advanced alternative to GIMP (another image editor).

The new Add-in feature ail provide users with a Add-in manager GUI (Graphical User Interface) for adding and installing extra effects, tools, brushes, and file formats. At the moment no actual add-ins are available for Pinta. Though the developers are in the process of creating a repository that will be used in future releases.

Some notable changes in Pinta 1.5:

  • Re-editable text;
  • Mouse cursors now resize based on the active brush size;
  • The Move Selection and Move Selected tools can now rotate the selection using the right mouse button;
  • Added an Invert Selection command;
  • New or redesigned mouse cursors for every tool;
  • Improved JPEG Compression Dialog (remembers previous settings and has the OK button as the default control);
  • The Open File dialog now shows image previews for ORA files, as well as any file formats provided by add-ins;
  • Users can use the Add-in Manager (under the Add-ins menu) to browse and install add-ins;
  • More than 90 bugs were fixed in this release, including:
    • Fixed a crash when the Pixel Grid was turned on for very small images;
    • Fixed a bug in the text tool that caused font variants (e.g. Segoe Black and Segoe Condensed) to not work correctly;
    • Fixed a bug that caused the Rectangle Select markers to still be visible after undoing a selection;
    • Fixed a bug that caused the Rectangle Select markers to still be visible after undoing a selection;
    • Fixed a bug that caused part of the image to be lost when pasting a large image onto a smaller canvas;
    • Fixed a bug where using the Backspace key in the text tool while inside a selection would fill the selection instead of deleting a character;
    • Fixed a bug where some icons would not display correctly with GTK# 2.12.20;
    • Fixed several bugs when running Pinta with newer versions of Mono.Cairo (such as on Ubuntu 14.04).

Installing Pinta on Ubuntu (its derivatives) and Linux Mint:
Open Up a terminal window and issue the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pinta-maintainers/pinta-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pinta

Enjoy Pinta!


[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.


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)


# 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


Ubuntu runs on world’s fastest supercomputer

Ubuntu is now running on the world’s fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-2, as per an update from Ubuntu Insigths. China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT) and Canonical have teamed up to run OpenStack on Tianhe2.

Tianhe-2 is NUDT’s brainchild and runs on its own Kylin Cloud Linux operating system. It has been the world’s fastest supercomputer since 2013, with a recorded Linpack Performance (Rmax) 33.86 petaflops. The servers use Intel Xeon processors, Intel Xeon Phi co-processors and a 160Gbps interconnect for super-fast data transfer between nodes.

The list of Canonical products to run on Tianhe-2 includes Ubuntu Server, Ubuntu Openstack and Ubuntu’s orchestration tool, Juju. Ubuntu OpenStack is running on 256 high performance nodes right now and this will expand to more than 6400 in next few months. This will help the Government departments in Guangdong province as well as other NUDT partners in running analysis, census, and eGovernment applications.

OpenStack and Juju will run closely to deploy and manage high performance cloud environments. According to Professor QingBo Wu at NUDT, “NUDT is a pioneer of technology, especially in the area of high performance. Tianhe-2, the world’s fastest supercomputer runs on Ubuntu Kylin and now with OpenStack and Ubuntu Juju, we are able to deliver high performance OpenStack.”

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu is overwhelmed about this great feat. “To see the fastest supercomputer running OpenStack is already a beautiful thing”, Mark says. He is eager to see further rollout of OpenStack and Juju on it.


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.


SlateKit, a Qt5 based operating system for tablets

Chen, Ping-Hsun (penk), a software developer from Taiwan is working on an Open Source mobile operating system, called SlateKit, targeted at tablets.

Chen says that “SlateKit Base is a small Linux distribution (binary compatible with Ubuntu 14.04 amd64), with specially configured Qt 5.2.0, Mesa 10.0.1, two web engine/renderer: the default QtWebKit, and Oxide, which based on Chromium/Blink.”

He further explains that “the whole graphical stacks are merely framebuffer (both KMS and uvesafb), EGL surface, and Qt/QtQuick has made rest of the user interface. No X11, Mir nor Wayland are being used.”

SlateKit seems to be an exciting project for enthusiasts as well as those companies who want to enter the tablet space with custom tablet UI. Chen himself admits that “SlateKit is a drop-in replacement of Android UI stack, to help makers building custom tablet UI, by using Qt/QML, JavaScript and Chromium.”


Chen has released a technical preview of SlateKit for Google’s Nexus 7 (2013 edition) tablet. If you want to try the OS Chen has given detailed instructions which you can find below:


Nexus 7 “razor” [2013] (WiFi)
Android 4.4.2 (KOT49H)
rooted and adb shell access


Download the image: slatekit-flo-0423.zip (146.7 MB)
Unzip files to /data, make sure busybox has executable permission
Start the UI by: ./chroot.sh

Technical details

SlateKit Base essentially consists:

a minimal Ubuntu root filesystem (Trusty/armhf)
Qt 5.2.1 and Oxide 1.0 (Chromium content API wrapper)
libhybris for hardware accelerated graphics
hwcomposer QPA from Mer project

Let us know if you managed to install it on your Nexus 7.


Yorba’s Promising Calendar “California” and Email Client “Geary” Bring More Style to GNOME

Yorba Foundation, the prominent developer of Shotwell photo manager, has recently announced their development of a new slick and stylish calendar app for GNOME called “California.” It has now been included into Yorba’s daily PPA for testing on Ubuntu systems and looks just as promising and stylish as their minimalist email client Geary.

On March 21, Yorba announced “California” version 0.1, their new calendar app for GNOME systems. California adds a functionality to GNOME, that Yorba’s most recent version 0.6 release of the likewise minimalist and stylish Geary email client is missing: a proper calendar. Even though California is still under heavy development, it looks just as promising as Geary. Geary already offers a “modern and straighforward interface” including an automatic organization of emails into conversations, as well as support for “Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook.com, and popular IMAP servers (Dovecot, Cyrus, Zimbra, etc.).” While Geary has no feature to add colors to specif labels or folders of your IMAP service, California already allows to create different calendar categories with different colors. Both Geary and California are able to use the GNOME notification system to announce incoming emails and upcoming calendar events. Besides that, California only offers very rudimentary calendar functions. In the future, it is supposed to offer all the bells and whistles of a modern calendar application

However, the key feature of both Geary and California is their design. California takes up on Geary’s simple, minimalist, yet highly stylized look. In comparison to the standard GNOME calendar app, California looks much more polished and elegant. The same is true for Geary in comparison to the standard email application Thunderbird. Both California and Geary work best in a GNOME environment, as they do not add any unnecessary menus or buttons, but instead stick to the minimalist and elegant approach of the GNOME design.

Ubuntu_Gnome_California_0.1-review Ubuntu_Geary_0.6_review

On Ubuntu 14.04 systems, you can install Geary from the official repositories:

sudo apt-get install geary

To install Geary on Ubuntu 12.04 systems, you can use the backport PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tombeckmann/geary
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install geary

Please note that this PPA is not officially maintained by Yorba, but by independent developer Tom Beckman.

If you want to install California, be warned that the application is still heavily developed and considered unstable for everyday use. However, should you feel the need to try out the most stylish calendar app available for GNOME, you can choose between two options.

1) Use the Yorba daily PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yorba/daily-builds
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install california

Please note that adding this PPA will also provide daily builds for other Yorba developments, such as Shotwell and Geary.

2) Another option would be to install directly from the .deb files available on Launchpad, thus not affecting any other software installed on your system.

Source: http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2014/05/california-calendar-app-hits-yorba-daily-ppa


Unity 8 Desktop flavour proposed

On behalf of the desktop team, developer Iain Lane proposed a Desktop version of the Unity 8 in the developer mailing list. While there is no plan for a formal release for this flavour, it will serve as an experimental playground for desktop developers and one more step towards convergence.

The main objective is to have the Unity 8 desktop environment and the new applications developed for the touch project packaged together “to provide a product which developers can use to figure out the work that’s required to make a desktop product based on this software usable, and to create a space for experimentation to figure out the best ways of carrying out the required integration.” While the plans to migrate pieces of the current Unity 7 based desktop environment is still in place, the task needs to be handled with care so that the existing desktop doesn’t become unstable. Bringing Unity 8 to the desktop in this parallel experimental flavour means software migration will happen only when it is ready for the migration, and will not be driven by the pressure to release them to the users even if at a premature stage.

That being said, questions remain in areas like how to handle click packages in the desktop environment. However, the immediate attention would be towards putting everything together and get something running, with the changes ongoing as a part of the long-term process of having a “stable” Unity 8 desktop environment.

Iain calls out for help with building the flavour. His initial work is available in ppa:ubuntu-desktop/unity8-flavour (seed branch lp:~laney/ubuntu-seeds/ubuntu-unity8.utopic). The immediate questions he has are:

  • Having a more unique name than “ubuntu-unity8″ which already exists. He has thought of “ubuntu-touch-desktop” but welcomes any suggestions.
  • Is there enough bandwidth to build another flavour?
  • What needs to be done to initiate the daily builds? He would love to do the things necessary but someone with the information needs to point him out the changes required for a new flavour and where they need to go.

The long term advantages of this experimental flavour are evident. It would help re-use the code from the phone and the tablet versions and allow enough time to adapt them to the desktop. Unity 8 is under active development and having the changes in a dedicated flavour will help reduce the lag in development between the touch and desktop versions. The initial blueprint says that the “new iso should become the default one by 16.04″.


Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” available for download

Linux Mint 17 “Qiana” RC Live ISO images with Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments are available for download now. Project Leader Clement Lefebvre noted in the Linux Mint blog that Qiana RC has passed QA and will be available soon.

Qiana is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS released last month and is right on schedule. The developers had a tough time towards the end but the team is excited about the package. In Clement’s words, “Some of the improvements featured in Linux Mint 17 came extremely late in the release cycle but they all managed to get in and we can’t wait to show you what’s new.” As it is a RC, bugs are expected but the developers are eagerly waiting for the bug reports and feedback to fix those. However, internal testing has shown the quality to be “outstanding” and there is a high level of confidence at this late stage of the main release. Qiana is scheduled to be released at the end of this month.

Everything is smooth as it normally is with the popular Ubuntu derivative. Some long term bugs from the past releases like the shutdown sequence, inability to install broadcom drivers offline etc. are now fixed. The look and feel remains traditional but is implemented in a brand new Mint-X theme, which gives a very “polished” experience.

The official announcement for the RC is yet to be published but that can’t stop you from downloading and testing it from the testing FTP site. 32 and 64-bit DVD ISOs are available for both the Cinnamon and MATE flavours.

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