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Linux, Ubuntu & Android News

Want to try GNOME 3.22? This is the Linux Distro you're looking for!

25 Sep 2016, 9:51 pm | Tech Drive-in

GNOME is perhaps *the* the most popular Linux desktop envoronment out there. And GNOME 3.22 is the latest stable release from GNOME foundation. Yet, it is almost impossible to find a mainstream Linux distro that ships the latest and greatest from GNOME. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for example has no plans to bring this GNOME release to its users anytime soon. Forget Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the still-in-development Ubuntu 16.10 will have GNOME 3.20 by default. But there is this one particular distro that already has the latest GNOME 3.22!
gnome 3.22 linux

Say Hello to openSUSE Tumbleweed!

Ubuntu 16.10 "Yakkety Yak" will have GNOME 3.20 by default. You might be able to upgrade GNOME 3.20 to 3.22 with some unofficial PPAs, but that is not a perfect solution, especially on productions machines.

Worry not, openSUSE Tumbleweed has you covered. The Tumbleweed distribution is a pure 'rolling release version of openSUSE containing the latest stable versions of all software instead of relying on rigid periodic release cycles.' Tumbleweed is based on openSUSE's main development codebase and is updated once the codebase's bleeding edge software has been integrated, stabilized and tested. In effect, openSUSE Tumbleweed contains the latest stable applications and is ready and reliable for daily use.

gnome 3.22 opensuse
This image was tweeted by openSUSE Chairman himself. Less than 48 hours after the unveiling of GNOME 3.22 (Karlsruhe), openSUSE Tumbleweed users are getting the full upstream experience of the latest GNOME. Official announcement by openSUSE on GNOME 3.22 integration can be found here. Also read: Tumbleweed download and installation instructions. I have just completed the download, but haven't tested it on any of my machines yet. Will hopefully do a full review on GNOME 3.22 once that's done.

Keep in mind that, Debian Unstable and Arch Linux also have updated GNOME 3.22 packages. But as far as I understand, both versions are not really recommended for daily use. Since I have never used Arch, I can never be sure about this. Feel free to correct me if I wrongly assumed Arch's GNOME 3.22 implementation to be less stable. Thanks for reading. If all goes well, we'll be reviewing GNOME 3.22 with openSUSE Tumbleweed soon.

'Bing Wallpapers for Linux' Revived, Works Great on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

22 Sep 2016, 3:50 pm | Tech Drive-in

bing wallpapers ubuntu
Bing Wallpapers for Linux app brings the gorgeous "Bing Image of the Day" featured wallpapers to Linux. The app itself is pretty straight forward. You can either manually check/update if/when a new wallpaper is available or you could just restart your system and find Bing's latest "featured image" as your desktop wallpaper. And I have to say, they are pretty darn good! By default, the app would check for new wallpapers every 3 hours.

bing image of the day for linux
Though I have tested this only on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, this should work on other Debian based distros such as elementary OS or Linux Mint. Installation is just 3 steps, do the following in Terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:whizzzkid/bingwallpaper
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bingwallpaper

Done. As you can infer from the post-installation instructions in Terminal, the Bing Wallpapers for Linux app will automatically set the latest Bing "featured image" as your wallpaper upon reboot. But if you want to see the results immediately, you need to run the following command in Terminal.

sh /usr/bin/bingwallpaper

Voila! And you have your latest Bing wallpaper up and running in Ubuntu! If you are inclined, all the images will be available at the following directory in Ubuntu: "~/Pictures/Bing/". See project's page on GitHub. Thanks to our reader Evan for sharing this news with us. And thanks for reading!

An Open Source Self-Driving Car? Udacity is Planning to Build Just That!

20 Sep 2016, 2:58 pm | Tech Drive-in

open source self driving car
Open Source is not alien to self-driving car technology. We know for fact that Google's self-driving cars are using 'lightly customised Ubuntu' at its core, and we have spotted Ubuntu on Mercedes-Benz driverless research car. But what Sebastian Thrun and Udacity is proposing is something radically different.

Not many here must have heard about Udacity. They are a for-profit online education startup who recently created a self-driving car engineering Nanodegree program to cater the burgeoning autonomous car industry. The company is partnering with Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Didi, Otto, and Nvidia on this nanodegree program for self-driving cars.

During the TechCrunch Disrupt event, Udacity co-founder, Sebastian Thrun revealed that the company intends to build its own self-driving car as part of its self-driving car engineering Nanodegree program, and that it also intends to open source the technology that results, so that "anyone" can try to build their own self-driving vehicle.

Consulting firm BCG believes the market for partially and fully autonomous vehicles will be at $22 billion by 2025. And Udacity intends to fill some of that gap for skilled engineers with its new Nanodegree program. The open-sourcing of resulting tech could help the eco-system grow even faster. The crowdsourced autonomous vehicle plans will ultimately be created in service of the school, rather than as an end-product. More on Udacity's attempts to create the first fully open-source self-driving car here.

Italian Military's LibreOffice Migration Underway; 100,000+ PCs To Be Migrated

19 Sep 2016, 4:35 pm | Tech Drive-in

As we reported exactly an year ago, Italian Military's plans to migrate its entire fleet of desktop PCs to LibreOffice is well underway and has reached its first milestone. Since the project got started about an year ago, the Italian military have switched over 8000 PC workstations to LibreOffice.


Italian Military's LibreOffice Migration Well Underway

As they say, well begun is half done. Italian Military's long drawn out plans for migrating its computers from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice is well under way. In the first phase of the project, over 8000 of its PC workstations has been successfully migrated to LibreOffice. And over the next 4 years, LibreDifesa project (as it is officially known) aims to migrate Italian Military's entire 100,000+ systems to LibreOffice. This would make it the largest free software transition involving desktop PCs by a European public administration.

LibreItalia, an an open source advocacy group based out of Italy, is helping Italian Military in this massive endeavour. LibreItalia volunteers are working with the military, training the trainers and the support staff. They also introduce LibreOffice to top officials, and help prepare the communication that explain the motive for the switch. The LibreDifesa project is expected to save EUR 26 to 29 million for the exchequer.

But saving money isn't just the only concern for the Military. According to open source observatory, "the main motives for the switch include interoperability and long-term accessibility of documents and information. The military are standardising on the Open Document Format (ODF) and are urging its users to use free fonts."
"The switch to LibreOffice is so far posing no real problems for the users", said Sonia Montegiove, who is also the president of the LibreItalia open source advocacy group. She presented the LibreDifesa project last Friday at the FSFE Summit in Berlin.
Apparently, the military is also contemplating the use of Linux for their desktop workstations, and are piloting the Zimbra email, calendaring and collaboration suite. And it's not just the Italian Military. Only recently we learned that big MNCs like Daimler AG has been migrating its critical servers to SUSE Linux. Even cities as large as Toulouse in France and Turin in Italy have opted for Ubuntu and other open solutions thereby saving millions of Euros.

[Via Open source observatory; Also read Sonia Montegiove's presentation (PDF) at FSFE Summit, Berlin]

Apparently, Ubuntu is 'infringing' Paramount's Copyrights over Transformers movie!

16 Sep 2016, 12:32 am | Tech Drive-in

For some unknown reason, Paramount Pictures has decided that the freely distributed Ubuntu OS torrents are "infringing" their copyrights on Transformers movie! Paramount Pictures recently sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google, accusing Ubuntu OS of infringing their copyrights.

DMCA takedown notice

Paramount Pictures Sends Takedown Notices to "Infringing" Ubuntu Torrents

Just when you thought the copyright infringement drama can't get any sillier, Paramount Pictures decides to send takedown notice to Google, accusing Ubuntu OS torrents of "infringing" their copyrights over 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' movie. According to torrentfreak, copyright holders sent millions of takedown requests to Google every week and "it’s no surprise that errors are made". But their latest "error" seems rather odd. 
DMCA Ubuntu takedown notice
As you can see, the torrent URL or the destination doesn't contain any references of this particular movie. Yet, a notice sent out by the movie studio's anti-piracy partner a few days ago, and Google was asked to remove the Ubuntu torrent download page on ExtraTorrent, a popular torrent download website.

What's even more interesting is the fact that, instead of any fact-checking, Google went ahead and took down the "infringing" URL. May be its just the standard practice given the sheer volume of takedown requests Google receives every other day (some three million requests per day, as per some reports). But here is the thing.
"Paramount's mistake may be relatively harmless, but it shows once again how much can go wrong with these automated DMCA notices. Whether these errors can be rooted out is doubtful as there is very little incentive for copyright holders to improve their accuracy."
Read the detailed report and discussions at TorrentFreak

Taskwarrior: A Brilliant Command-Line TODO App for Linux

13 Sep 2016, 12:22 am | Tech Drive-in

Taskwarrior is a simple, straight-forward command-line based TODO app for Ubuntu/Linux. This open-source app has to be one of the easiest of all CLI based apps I've ever used. Taskwarrior helps you better organize yourself, and without installing bulky new apps which sometimes defeats the whole purpose of TODO apps.


Taskwarrior: A Simple CLI based TODO App That gets the Job Done!

Taskwarrior is an open-source and cross-platform, command-line based TODO app, which lets you manage your to-do lists right from the Terminal. The app lets you add tasks, shows you the list, and removes tasks from that list with much ease. And what's more, it's available within your default repositories, no need to fiddle with PPAs. In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and similar, do the following in Terminal to install Taskwarrior. 
sudo apt-get install task

A simple use case can be as follows:

$ task add Read a book
Created task 1.
$ task add priority:H Pay the bills
Created task 2.

This is the same example I used in the screenshot above. Yes, you can set priority levels (H, L or M) as shown. And then you can use 'task' or 'task next' commands to see your newly-created todo list. For example:

$ task next

ID Age P Description Urg
-- --- - -------------------------------- ----
2 10s H Pay the bills 6
1 20s Read a book 0

And once its completed, you can use 'task 1 done' or 'task 2 done' commands to clear the lists. A more comprehensive list of commands, use-cases can be found here. Also, Taskwarrior is cross-platform, which means you'll find a version that fits your needs no matter what. There's even an Android version if you want one. Enjoy!

Daimler AG Migrates its Mission Critical Servers to Suse Linux

10 Sep 2016, 4:35 am | Tech Drive-in

SUSE technologies are helping Daimler AG, the German automotive behemoth, to migrate a large proportion of its mission-critical servers from proprietary UNIX operating systems to 'the open and flexible Linux platform'.

daimler migrates to linux

Daimler AG: Automotive Giant Latest to Adopt Linux

Daimler AG joins a long list of companies and even cities that have joined the open source bandwagon. SUSE technologies, being one of the earliest providers of Enterprise Linux solutions, helped Daimler AG to migrate a large proportion of its mission-critical servers from proprietary systems to Linux platform, specifically to SUSE Linux. This is a major win for the proponents of enterprise level solutions based on Linux and open-source.

Historically, Daimler AG used a number of proprietary UNIX distributions for the task. But managing multiple environments increased costs and required the company to maintain different skill sets to accomplish very similar tasks on different platforms. This is where SUSE technologies pitched in with their Linux Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
"A key target for the new project was to migrate away from UNIX on proprietary hardware towards Linux on commodity x86 servers. The objective was to standardize on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a single distribution of Linux wherever practical. The openness and ease of customization of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as its closeness to UNIX, made it the ideal starting point for this virtual platform concept."
Initially, the company deployed SUSE Manager with 28 distributed SUSE Manager proxy servers for comprehensive Linux lifecycle management. As part of the migration process, SUSE Manager builds a tailored image with the requested packages and features. These operating system images may include SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions with 24x7 Priority Support, a disaster-recovery tool, the SUSE Manager client and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications with the SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Manager eventually helped Daimler AG to successfully migrate a large proportion of its mission-critical workloads from proprietary UNIX platforms to Linux. The company has cut the number of UNIX instances by 40 percent, as it moves crucial applications to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
"The success of the transition to the SUSE platform is reflected in the growth of the company’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server landscape. In the last few years, the number of Linux instances has increased by a factor of four. This considerable expansion demonstrates both the successful ongoing project to migrate UNIX applications to Linux and the organic growth in the company’s web applications where SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has become the preferred platform."
[You can download the full PDF report here]

OpenOffice Shutdown Imminent?

3 Sep 2016, 3:03 am | Tech Drive-in

Ars is reporting that, OpenOffice might be shutting down its operations soon. For long, OpenOffice reigned as the premier Office suite, giving the open-source community a robust alternative to Microsoft Office.

OpenOffice could shutdown operations soon, reports say

OpenOffice was Linux's showcase app for long. It started its journey as an open-sourced version of the StarOffice, which Sun Microsystems acquired in 1999 for a whopping US$59.5 million. Apparently, Sun bought it for internal use as it was costlier to license Microsoft Office for its entire staff. 
Sun open-sourced the software in July 2000 and pitched it as an "open" alternative to Microsoft Office. Over the years, OpenOffice became a massively popular Office suite which found its way into many Linux distros as the default choice. It even achieved 14% penetration in the large enterprise market by 2004. OpenOffice played an important part in attracting new users to Linux. 
But everything changed in 2010 when Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle. Though Oracle 'reiterated' its commitment for the continued development of OpenOffice, it pretty much abandoned the project in practice. Not much long after, majority of outside contributors left and formed The Document Foundation. They released the OpenOffice fork named LibreOffice in Jan 2011, which become widely successful. As many speculated before the acquisition, Oracle completely stopped OpenOffice development in April 2011 and fired the development team. Oracle contributed the trademarks and Oracle-owned code to the Apache Software Foundation for re-licensing under Apache License. This formed the basis for Apache OpenOffice project which we see today.

End of the Road for Apache OpenOffice? Not so Fast

The speculation started when a thread titled "What would OpenOffice retirement involve?" was started by Dennis Hamilton, vice president of Apache OpenOffice, in openoffice-dev mailing list.

"It is my considered opinion that there is no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together," Hamilton wrote. No decisions have been made yet, but Project heads are particularly worried about their ability to fix security problems. And hence the Project's 'retirement remains a serious possibility'. Read the complete story at arstechnica.

Vivaldi, the power-user friendly Web Browser, hits version 1.3

15 Aug 2016, 5:05 am | Tech Drive-in

We have discussed Vivaldi before. It's a feature packed and very power-user friendly web browser for Windows, Mac and Linux. And from our limited experience, the browser seems pretty darn fast too.

vivaldi for linux

Vivaldi 1.3 Released

Living up to its tagline "the most customisable web browser", the new update brings a whole host of new features that enhances Vivaldi's customisability. The new version comes with powerful themeing abilities for example. In our earlier review of Vivaldi web browser, we did complain about the slightly overdone color schemes and such. The new changes give you powers to tweak its looks the way you want. I especially liked the new dark themes.
vivaldi browser new release
Mouse gestures is perhaps one of my favourite feature in Vivaldi, even though I always prefer keyboard shortcuts. There are more than 90  browser actions that can be performed with mouse gestures now.
Also in this release, the developers have addressed some of Linux platform specific issues, which means that "tab hibernation now works as it should, and some proprietary media embedded in HTML5 content can now be enjoyed in Vivaldi on Linux without problems." 
There are other improvements on the Privacy front too with the added ability to turn off WebRTC. Overall, I'm really impressed with Vivaldi's improvements on the performance front. It is definitely faster and more responsive than before, and without any compromises on functionality. Features like 'Tab Stacks' work just as good. Both 32 and 64 bit DEB/RPM packages are available (see link below). Share your thoughts on Vivaldi. Thanks for reading.
Download Vivaldi for Linux (DEB, RPM) | Changelog and other details

A New 'Battery Monitor' for Ubuntu with Clever Notifications Support

4 Aug 2016, 10:24 pm | Tech Drive-in

I'm not really happy with my laptop's battery performance, and hence the need for reliable battery indicator apps. From simple widgets to full-fledged apps, there are quite a few to choose from. 'Battery Monitor' is the latest entrant. Use the following PPA to install Battery Monitor in Ubuntu and other Debian based distros.

Battery Monitor for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

What makes Battery Monitor different from a whole host of similar apps is its clever integration with Ubuntu notifications. It will notify user about charging, discharging, not charging and critically low battery states. Installation is pretty straight forward. Fire up your Terminal and do as following.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maateen/battery-monitor -y
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install battery-monitor -y

After installation, there are two ways to start Battery Monitor immediately. Either run battery-monitor in your Terminal itself OR hit ALT + F2 and run battery-monitor. I prefer the later. A few more screenshots.

Project homepage. Do share your thoughts.

Tech Drive-in

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