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Linux, Ubuntu & Android News

Blackphone, the world's most private and secure mobile phone is back on sales again

Tech Drive-in 25 Jul 2014, 3:32 pm | Tech Drive-in

The NSA debacle and the unearthing of PRISM surveillance program was nothing short of shock to many. There has been a see change in how technology is perceived since then. From Avatar OS to Blackphone, a host of new projects are keen to bring in a revolutionary change to the world of gadgets and technology. As they say, the only winners of the whole NSA debacle will be those companies that places privacy and security at the forefront.

Blackphone: The Smartphone from the future
The Blackphone is a smartphone developed by SGP Technologies, that will provide encryption for phone calls, emails, texts, and internet browsing. The primary features include the Silent Circle suite of applications, including Silent Phone, Silent Text, and Silent Contacts; anonymous search, private browsing, and VPN from Disconnect; and secure cloud file storage from SpiderOak. Blackphone's PrivatOS is built on top of Android, which apparently is the most popular mobile phone platform in the world, according to a recent study.

Blackphone went on sales a month ago and was sold-out in no time. New batch is up for sales right now at a sticker price of $629.00. Get it when you can.

blackphone apps

Linux Remote Control goes native on Android

Tech Drive-in 15 Jul 2014, 10:49 pm | Tech Drive-in

linux remote control android
We have covered Linux Remote Control before which is a simple web based application for Android (and other devices that has support for HTML 5). It lets you "remote-control" Ubuntu abd other Linux based distros from your Android phone with ease. LRC for Android can now be installed from Firefox marketplace making the whole process so much smoother.

Linux Remote Control: Salient Features
  • Control the music/sound of your computer (play, pause, stop, mute, volume etc.)
  • Controlling videos from your computer (play, pause, mute, volume, fullscreen etc.)
  • Control your computer mouse (click and move).
  • Lock and unlock your computer screen.
  • Restart and shut down your computer.
  • Increase and decrease the brightness of your computer screen.
  • Control slides for presentations going back and forth.
  • Send custom commands to run on your GNU/Linux.
Installing Linux Remote Control (LRC) Server in Ubuntu
  • You need to install LRC server on the desktop like we have already described in detail in our previous post. Here's what you need to do.
  • For Ubuntu and other other Debian based distros, download the LRC DEB package and click to install it using Ubuntu Software Center (I prefer GDebi), simple as that.
  • OR You could use command line method as described in our previous post. 
  • There were some warnings, but I chose to 'ignore and install' instead (it worked).
Installing Linux Remote Control (LRC) Client in Android
  • What changed here is the way you install the e client on your phone. LRC Client is now available for installation from Firefox marketplace.
I already have LRC client on my Android and hence I didn't had to install it from Firefox Marketplace. Let me know how well it worked. See also: Linux Remote Control homepage.

Firefox OS powered $25 smartphones coming to India in the 'next few months'

Tech Drive-in 13 Jun 2014, 9:50 am | Tech Drive-in

firefox os
Low cost smartphones are the new rage. Unsurprisingly, Android leads this entirely new smartphone segment as well. And in the current context, the only player that could give Android any real competition in this segment is Firefox OS. Like Android, Firefox OS developed by Mozilla is free, open source and is based on Linux.

Low cost smartphones all set to change the game
For long, low cost segment was an after-thought for every major smartphone manufacturer. And the company that really understood the true potential of this market was not Samsung or LG or any other Asian firm as many would've expected, it was the good ol' Motorola which managed to break into this new segment and how!

Moto G and Moto E are already huge successes in the developing markets like India. Both the smartphones were sold-out the day they were launched (the latter within hours!), and Moto E still remain out of stock. Such is the demand for quality low-cost smartphones in the emerging markets. And Mozilla with its new OS is all set to tap into this burgeoning market.

The handsets, being manufactured by two Indian companies, would retail at $25 a piece! According to this official announcement, the ultra low-cost smartphones based on Firefox OS will reach Indian shores within the next few months. Stay tuned. [source:]

Synergy could be the coolest Open Source App I have used in a long time

Tech Drive-in 10 Jun 2014, 9:02 am | Tech Drive-in

synergy keyboard and mouse sharing for ubuntu 14.04
Synergy is a cross-platform and open source tool for sharing one mouse and keyboard between multiple computers seamlessly. Though the real use of this technology must be for enterprise users, individual users can have a lot of fun with this powerful tool as well.

Synergy 1.5 Stable Released
Synergy project was started way back in 2001. It is used in situations where several PCs are used together, with a monitor connected to each, but are to be controlled by one user. The user needs only one keyboard and mouse on the desk. Just a few weeks ago, Synergy version 1.5 (stable) was released. Though Synergy was Windows only earlier, it is now cross-platform and works seamlessly on Mac OSX and Linux as well.
Get past the donate page and you'll notice that DEB and RPM packages for Linux are available. If you're on Ubuntu, download the 32/64-bit version according to your requirements. Either double-click to install it OR do the following in Terminal (while in Ubuntu).
sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/synergy-1.5.0-r2278-Linux-i686.deb

Point to the correct Synergy file (consider the above Synergy file name as indicative only) and you're done. Synergy 1.5 is up and ready to go.

How to use Synergy in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS?
  • Launch Synergy software from the primary computer (the one which you want to use as the server whose keyboard and mouse will be the ones in use).
synergy keyboard and mouse sharing for ubuntu 14.04
    • Hit the Configure Server button (Server option will be selected by default). 
    synergy keyboard and mouse sharing for linux, windows, mac
    • Drag the screen to which ever "square" you want (moving depending on the physical location of the actual monitor/client will be ideal).
    synergy for ubuntu
    • Double click on it to edit Settings. Enter the Screen name (which you'll get by launching the Synergy app in your client computer). Done.
    • Now, launch Synergy on your client computer. 
    synergy keyboard and mouse sharing for ubuntu 14.04
      • Select the "Client" option, enter your server's IP and hit Apply. If all goes well, both the Synergy sessions running on your Server and Client systems will be minimized to your top panel. (Also, notice the Screen name of your Client system)
      • Now, simply try moving your mouse from one monitor to the other. I tried Synergy in two of my laptops running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (one 32 bit and another 64 bit) and the experience can be best described as "magical". How about you?

      Ubuntu 14.10 "Utopic Unicorn" Release Schedule

      Tech Drive-in 6 Jun 2014, 7:09 pm | Tech Drive-in

      Ubuntu 14.10 release schedule
      Well, that was fast. The next Ubuntu 14.10 codenamed "Utopic Unicorn" will be releasing on October 23rd, 2014. The entire release schedule has also been announced.

      Ubuntu 14.10 release schedule: The highlights
      • June 26th: Ubuntu 14.10 Alpha 1 
      • July 31st: Ubuntu 14.10 Alpha 2
      • August 21st: Feature Freeze
      • August 28th: Ubuntu 14.10 Beta 1
      • September 11th: User Interface Freeze
      • September 25th: Ubuntu 14.10 Final Beta
      • October 16th: Ubuntu 14.10 Release Candidate
      • October 23rd: Ubuntu 14.10 Final Release
      See Ubuntu Wiki for a more detailed Ubuntu 14.10 release schedule.

      Meizu MX3 Ubuntu phone to be showcased at Mobile Asia Expo 2014

      Tech Drive-in 6 Jun 2014, 5:52 am | Tech Drive-in

      meizu mx3 ubuntu phone
      Meizu is all set to unveil its flagship Ubuntu Touch powered smartphone at Mobile Asia Expo 2014 to be held at Shanghai, China.
      Meizu MX3 Ubuntu phone to be unveiled at Mobile Asia Expo 2014
      There were already plenty of rumours about an Ubuntu Touch based smartphone from Chinese mobile phone manufacturer, Meizu. And then, back in January 2014, there was this leaked video of Ubuntu Touch OS running smoothly on an Meizu MX3 smartphone which unequivocally proved that the device is for real.
      Moment of reality folks. Meizu will join Ubuntu to showcase their first Chinese Ubuntu phone at Mobile Asia Expo 2014 to be held at Shanghai from 11-13th of June 2014. People who visit Ubuntu’s booth can find MX3s running Ubuntu in English system language. You can find Ubuntu’s booth in Hall 2, booth N2.A10 at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre.

      Ubuntu caught in the wild, again! Google's Project Tango promo video features Ubuntu

      Tech Drive-in 5 Jun 2014, 9:00 pm | Tech Drive-in

      This is not much of a surprise since it is a well-know fact that Google uses Ubuntu (albeit with modifications) in their campuses. Not only that, it was confirmed by Canonical themselves last year that Google is a paying customer of Ubuntu Advantage program. 
      Google's Project Tango promo video feature Ubuntu
      For those who are wondering, Project Tango is Google's attempt at creating mobile devices with a human-scale understanding of space and motion. See Google's Project Tango intro video below (skip to 2:07 to watch the Ubuntu reference).

      "Our team has been working with universities, research labs, and industrial partners spanning nine countries around the world to build on the last decade of research in robotics and computer vision, concentrating that technology into a unique mobile device. We are putting early prototypes into the hands of developers that can imagine the possibilities and help bring those ideas into reality." Interested? Sign up here.

      XCOM: Enemy Unknown coming to Linux soon, The Witcher 2 already available through Steam!

      Tech Drive-in 27 May 2014, 1:58 pm | Tech Drive-in

      XCOM: Enemy Unknown for Linux
      More good news for Linux gamers. XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the multiple-award winning turn-based tactical role-playing video game developed by Firaxis Games is all set to arrive on Linux shores soon. And much to the excitement of gaming fanatics, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings is readily available for Linux through Steam!
      XCOM: Enemy Unknown and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, for Linux
      It is confirmed. Feral's first ever game made for Linux will be none other than their award winning title, XCOM: Enemy Unknown. "Linux gamers will be able to join the fight for humanity’s future this summer when the Ubuntu 14.04 version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown is released as a SteamPlay title." Read their full announcement here. It also confirms that, the game will be a native port and not some half-baked "wrap-around". [source: gamingonlinux]
      The Witcher 2 on the other hand, was officially released for Linux just a few days back. The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings boasts of a metacritic score of 88/100 while XCOM: Enemy Unknown has an even better 89/100 rating on website. The Witcher 2 for Linux can be downloaded from Steam already. Get Steam for Linux.
      The Witcher 2 for Linux released

      World's fastest Supercomputer runs Ubuntu!

      Tech Drive-in 23 May 2014, 5:00 pm | Tech Drive-in

      World's fastest Supercomputer
      Tianhe-2 is a 33.86 petaflops supercomputer, dubbed as the world's fastest supercomputer, located in Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
      Tianhe-2 Supercomputer runs Ubuntu
      Tianhe-2 or TH-2 is the world's fastest supercomputer according to the TOP500 list, a project that ranks and details the 500 most powerful (non-distributed) computer systems in the world. During his keynote speech at OpenStack Summit, Mark Shuttleworth has revealed that the world's fastest supercomputer indeed runs Ubuntu in the form of Ubuntu Kylin. Kylin OS was originally based on FreeBSD, but started using Linux Kernel later on. Ubuntu Kylin is now an official Ubuntu flavour even. More info here [PDF].

      "Android has now utterly won the smartphone platform war with over 80% of new sales," study finds!

      Tech Drive-in 20 May 2014, 12:41 pm | Tech Drive-in

      Few years ago, Android OS was a nobody in the burgeoning mobile phone industry. Many "advised" Google to just stick to search and leave the mobile phone OS business to the incumbents. They proved everyone wrong and how! 1.8 Billion new mobile phones were sold just last year alone, smartphones comprising more than half of that. And 80% of that market belongs to Android, winning the smartphone platform war convincingly and then some.

      android vs ios market share
      Android surge continues..
      Interesting tidbits from the study:
      • 7.1 Billion mobile phone accounts in use worldwide, with many places such as Hong Kong surpassing more than 100% penetration rate!
      • 5.4 Billion mobile phones in use worldwide. The industry sold 1.8 Billion new mobile phones just last year alone. And more than half of the new sales are now smartphones (990 million were in 2013). 
      • In the installed base, already 31% of all mobile phones in use are smartphones (1.7 Billion units) and this year will sell about 1.2 Billion more with roughly half going to replace older smartphones and half going to first-time smartphone owners.
      • Android has now utterly won the smartphone platform war with over 80% of new sales. Apple's iPhone has peaked and is in gradual decline at about 15% with the remnant few percent split among Windows, Blackberry and miscellaneous others.
      • Interestingly, when you consider the installed base of smartphone users, Symbian and Blackberry are ahead of Windows, with Windows lingering in fifth ranking among smartphone operating systems by actual devices in use. Android and iPhone obviously dominate the installed base as well.
      [Further reading: TomiAhonen Almanac 2014, the blog]

      Tech Drive-in

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