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Linux, Ubuntu & Android News

Dronecode Project: Linux based platform for UAVs backed by Linux Foundation is in the making

Tech Drive-in 16 Oct 2014, 1:11 pm | Tech Drive-in

Whether it is the driverless cars technology or high-end robotics, Linux is becoming the preferred platform of choice in many high-tech fields. Dronecode Project by Linux Foundation is the latest attempt at creating a new unified Linux based platform to be used in Drones of the future.

Dronecode Project by Linux Foundation
The Linux Foundation announced on October 13 at LinuxCon Europe the founding of the Dronecode Project. The goal of this project is to unify existing open-source drone projects and assets under a non-profit structure. Eventually, there will be a Linux based platform for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).

The project's founding members include 3D Robotics, Baidu, Box, DroneDeploy, jDrones, Laser Navigation, SkyWard, Squadrone System, Walkera and Yuneec. It is reported elsewhere that Qualcomm and Intel are also joining the efforts to build a truly opensource platform for UAVs.

Dronecode already has more than 1,200 developers working the project. The platform is also being adopted by many of drone companies such Skycatch, DroneDeploy, HobbyKing, Horizon Ag, PrecisionHawk, Agribotics, and Walkera.

[Further reading @]

Netflix now works out of the box!

Tech Drive-in 14 Oct 2014, 10:12 am | Tech Drive-in

netflix on ubuntu 14.10
The ordeal is finally over folks. No need for workarounds and troubleshoots anymore, Netflix works out of the box in Ubuntu and hopefully other Linux OSes via latest Google Chrome stable.
Netflix on Ubuntu is a non-issue from now on
Netflix and Steam were high up in the wishlist for many Ubuntu users. Steam materialised about two years ago and Steam for Linux has kept on adding games ever since. Although there were workarounds to make Netflix work in Ubuntu all long, there were all just that, workarounds. Now, all you need is the latest Chrome and Netflix works out of box in Ubuntu!
netflix on ubuntu 14.10

The user-agent switching hack was working so well for me anyway, so this doesn't change much in my case. But it is a welcome addition no matter what. Now I could simply recommend the latest Chrome Stable to anyone who wants Netflix on Ubuntu.

The only drawback is the fact that, you have to have Google Chrome to make it work. As you all know, Ubuntu comes with Firefox by default and Netflix won't work without hacks such as pipelight and such. The latest Google Chrome stable for Linux comes with the required DRM module called Encrypted Media Extension or EME for short.

I tested this on Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn and and elementary OS Freya 0.3 which is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. In both systems, Netflix works just great using nothing but the latest Google Chrome stable. The updated libnss3 files are the only bottleneck as far as I understand. Since I already had an upgraded libnss3 package in elementary OS Freya (which was required for user-agent switching hack to work), I'm not sure if the updates have started to make it work for Ubuntu 14.04 already. Can anybody please confirm?

Latest Humble Mobile Bundle for Android introduces many blockbusters: Leo's Fortune and Out There among them

Tech Drive-in 11 Oct 2014, 10:29 am | Tech Drive-in

Latest Android exclusive Humble Mobile Bundle 9 introduces games such as Leo's Fortune, Out There, Syberia, Neuroshima Hex, and Bardbarian: Golden Axe Edition, with more games waiting to be added. And standing true to its traditions, all games will be DRM free.
humble mobile bundle 9 android games
Humble Mobile Bundle 9 for Android
Humble Bundle needs no introduction here. And the latest one come with many blockbuster games such as Leo's Fortune and Out There. Seriously, if you haven't yet played Leo's Fortune, Out There and First Strike, you really need to grab this bundle. They are that good, especially Leo's Fortune. Android Exclusive Humble Mobile Bundle 9.

BitTorrent Bleep reaches open Alpha: Secure peer-to-peer chat client (voice & text) downloadable for Android, Mac, Windows (Linux coming soon)

Tech Drive-in 18 Sep 2014, 12:27 pm | Tech Drive-in

bittorrent bleep for android
People don't take online privacy and security lightly anymore. TOX could soon become the safest Skype alternative we'll have been waiting for. There has been a barrage of WhatsApp alternatives that respects your privacy ever since its acquisition by Facebook. Bleep, a peer-to-peer chat client with voice and text messaging capabilities, takes things to a whole new level. Could Bleep be the safe and secure alternative to Viber and even WhatsApp to an extent?

BitTorrent Bleep for Android
  • Bleep is currently in alpha, so it is still pretty rough around the edges.
  • Bleep is a peer-to-peer chat client, meaning there’s no central server that can see your messages or metadata.
  • Use it on WiFi only for the time being (consumes more data and battery than it normally should, fixes are on the way). 
  • Messages sent are fully encrypted and stored locally.
  • Bleep is NOT open source, which makes it harder to verify their claims.
peer to peer chat for androidInstall Bleep for Android (Alpha) from Google Play Store

MEGA has a Linux client now, offers up to 50 GB of free space and client-side encryption!

Tech Drive-in 12 Sep 2014, 1:54 pm | Tech Drive-in

MEGAsync for linux
For Linux users, there are plenty of Dropbox alternatives, MEGAsync being the latest entrant. The service was the brain child of Kim Dotcom, founder of now defunct Megaupload, and it was launched on 19 January 2013 to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the seizure of his previous enterprise. MEGAsync now has a dedicated Linux client as well (unlike Google Drive). 
MEGAsync's client for Linux released
The biggest and obvious attractions of MEGAsync are the massive 50 GB of free storage and its client side end-to-end encryption capabilities which makes it one of the most private and secure cloud storage services out there. Obviously one should not trust any cloud storage services with their sensitive data, but client side encryption capabilities gives MEGAsync a clear advantage.
MEGAsync for linux client

MEGAsync also offers good Nautilus integration functionality which makes it super easy to sync any particular directory in your drive with Mega's online cloud service.

Download MEGAsync Linux Client (Ubuntu, Fedora, SUSE, Debian)
If you are on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, simply download the appropriate DEB package and double click to install it OR use command-line like this:
sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/megasync-xUbuntu_14.04_amd64.deb

MEGA currently provides a multi-platform software development kit, and have plans to release the source code to MEGAsync under an open-source license. Read more here

Finally! Get Netflix to work in Ubuntu 14.04 (and Linux) the super easy way!

Tech Drive-in 10 Sep 2014, 7:46 pm | Tech Drive-in

how to get netflix to work in ubuntu 14.04
This is a dream come true. Though there are ways to make Netflix work in Ubuntu 14.04 (like using Pipelight for example), this must be the easiest. All you need is the latest Google Chrome from dev channel and an extension called User Agent Switcher. That's it! Let's get started.
[How to] Get Netflix to work in Ubuntu 14.04 using Google Chrome!
Thanks to Nathan VanCamp and his "prying" eyes, it is now possible to watch Netflix movies in Linux using Google Chrome and a simple User Agent Switcher extension. Here's how it works.
  • Download following dependencies first (not needed if you're on Ubuntu 14.10 Alpha and other Linux distros like Fedora 20 or Manjaro Linux, just skip to Step 6 instead).
  • EDIT: Add Ubuntu GNOME 14.04, elementary OS Freya to the list of supported distros!
  • Doing this will also result in "broken-packages" error (nothing serious as far as I'm concerned). If you don't want that error appearing, skip the installation completely. 
  • EDIT: The packages to download are (choose btw 32 and 64 bit versions):
  1. libnss3 (64 bit) OR libnss3 (32 bit)
  2. libnss3-1d (64 bit) OR libnss3-1d (32 bit)
  3. libnss3-nssdb  (this fixes the broken packages error, thanks to Rob's comment below)
    • Install the packages using the following commands* (a simple double click on the just downloaded DEB packages will also do the same, but I prefer command line). 
    sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/libnss3_3.16.3-1ubuntu1_amd64.deb
    sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/libnss3-1d_3.16.3-1ubuntu1_amd64.deb
    sudo dpkg -i ~/Downloads/libnss3-nssdb_3.16.3-1ubuntu1_all.deb
    • *Change the paths depending on your download destination. Done.
    Download and install Google Chrome from developer channelnetflix in ubuntu 14.04
    • Right Click on the extension - go to "Options" page. Fill in the following details. 
    New User-agent name: Netflix
    New User-Agent String: (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.3; Win 64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/38.0.2114.2 Safari/537.36)
    Replace or Append: Append

    Indicator Flag: NFX

    Note:  "New User-Agent String" is the most important part here. Rest of the text can be anything. Use them for your own ease of use. Resulting screen will look like this.

    how to get netflix to work in ubuntu 14.04
    • Done. Now switch to this new user-agent in your Chrome browser: Click on the User Agent Switcher extension icon on top and goto Chrome - Netflix. (see image below)
    netlfix linux
    • Done. Now login to Netflix and you'll see the change. I have been watching movies non-stop since. Here's another screenshot. 
    netflix on ubuntu
    Note: I have used Nathan VanCamp's instructions with some modifications to make Netflix work in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. For example, he was using Chrome v37 from beta channel while I was using Chrome v38 from dev channel. See Nathan's instructions and comments for further clarifications. I give no guarantee that this will work for everyone (though I hope it does!).

    Canonical, Raspberry Pi among the chosen few for Technology Pioneers 2015 Award by World Economic Forum (WEF)

    Tech Drive-in 4 Sep 2014, 2:54 pm | Tech Drive-in

    Canonical group, along with four other companies which include Raspberry Pi Foundation, has been bestowed with Pioneers of Technology 2015 award by World Economic Forum (WEF). The award was given to Canonical in the Digital Networks and Computing category, which recognises organisations involved in computer hardware, software and networks, as well as their applications for social, security, payment or learning purposes.

    Canonical recognised as Tech Pioneer by WEF
    Canonical has been selected as one of the 2015 World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers. The four others who were also recognised by WEF in the Computing space include Couchbase, Raspberry Pi Foundation, LearnUp and Ionic Security.

    The World Economic Forum says its Technology Pioneers programme recognises companies from around the world that are involved in the design, development and deployment of new technologies, and are set to have a significant impact on business and society. Technology Pioneers must demonstrate visionary leadership and show signs of being long-standing market leaders – their technology must be proven. Read more

    Operating System U: A new Linux based OS with a firm focus on you the user and functionality over UI overhauls, hits KickStarter

    Tech Drive-in 3 Sep 2014, 12:10 pm | Tech Drive-in

    Operating System U
    There's isn't probably a piece of software that is as hated as Windows 8's Metro UI.  Some seasoned Windows enthusiasts like it, but most of the normal day-to-day user had a hard time getting used to it. Operating System U is being readied with the regular user in mind, and is based on Manjaro Linux. A quick overview of the project. 
    Operating System U: How is it different?
    Everything looks good on paper. But the important question is, how is Operating System U any different from the plethora of alternatives we already have?

    Operating System U vs. Ubuntu:

    Operating System U
    Operating System U vs. Windows 8:
    Operating System U
    Interested? Head to KickStarter for more details and funding.

    Source: Operating System U: The User's Operating System

    Microsoft is losing its war on document standards, ODF is now UK's official document format

    Tech Drive-in 24 Aug 2014, 2:25 pm | Tech Drive-in

    odf is uk's official document format
    Document standards war were a thing of the past. Microsoft was trying to push its proprietary OpenXML documents format as the new standard while the rest of the world was hoping for a more open, "no-strings attached" open document format (ODF) as the new standard. Eventually Microsoft accepted defeat and promised to support ODF. But the progress was slow. UK government has stepped in now and made it clear that ODF will be its new official standardised document format. Sign of things to come, we believe.

    ODF is the new official document format in UKHere's what the UK's Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude had to say about his government's adoption of ODF: "Government will begin using open formats that will ensure that citizens and people working in government can use the applications that best meet their needs when they are viewing or working on documents together."

    UK's shift to Open Documnets Format (ODF) is seen as a triumph of open standards over proprietary alternatives by open source community. Official office suites are required to have support of ODF in UK without any exceptions.
    "Our long-term plan for a stronger economy is all about helping UK businesses grow. We have listened to those who told us that open standards will reduce their costs and make it easier to work with government. This is a major step forward for our digital-by-default agenda which is helping save citizens, businesses and taxpayers £1.2 billion ($2.05bn) over this Parliament," the minister added. [Read the full report on ZDNet]

    'cool-old-term': This retro styled Terminal Emulator could be the coolest we've seen yet!

    Tech Drive-in 24 Aug 2014, 2:03 pm | Tech Drive-in

    cool-old-term for ubuntu
    We've seen Terminal Emulators of all sizes and shapes for Linux, but nothing like this yet. 'cool-old-term' is one gorgeous looking Terminal emulator. 
    How to install cool-old-term Terminal Emulator in Ubuntu 14.04, Linux Mint 17?

    • Developed by Swordfish's Labs,  cool-old-term is a terminal emulator which tries to mimic the look and feel of the old cathode tube screens. It has been designed to be eye-candy, customizable, and reasonably lightweight.
    • Uses the Konsole engine which guarantees a trouble-free experience. Here's what you need to do install and use cool-old-term in Ubuntu 14.04.
    • Copy-paste the following command into Terminal.
    sudo apt-get install git build-essential qmlscene qt5-qmake qt5-default qtdeclarative5-dev qtdeclarative5-controls-plugin qtdeclarative5-qtquick2-plugin libqt5qml-graphicaleffects qtdeclarative5-dialogs-plugin qtdeclarative5-localstorage-plugin qtdeclarative5-window-plugin
    • All the important dependencies are now installed. Compile and install 'cool-old-term' in Ubuntu 14.04 by using the following commands. 
    git clone
    cd cool-old-term
    cd konsole-qml-plugin
    qmake && make && make install
    cd ..
    • Execute the commands one by one. The final command will launch the cool-old-term for you. Here's a few more screenshots. Let us know how well it worked for you.
    cool-old-term retro style terminal
    cool-old-term retro style terminal for Ubuntu 14.04

    Tech Drive-in

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