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Linux, Ubuntu & Android News

Linux Remote Control goes native on Android

Tech Drive-in 30 Jul 2014, 10:17 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.

France's 4th largest city, Toulouse, saves a million Euros by migrating to LibreOffice

Tech Drive-in 30 Jul 2014, 3:10 pm | Tech Drive-in

Toulouse saves a million Euros by migrating to LibreOffice
City of Munich saved more than €11.7 million in a decade and were among the earliest to understand the benefits of adopting open source and Linux. Then came UK with sweeping changes to its policies favoring LibreOffice over proprietary alternatives. Not only that. Just recently, they even adopted ODF as UK's official document format. Governments and public offices around the world are slowly waking up to the hard fact that proprietary software may not be in their best long-term interest after all, even if you ignore the cost-factor. Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, is the latest to jump on the bandwagon.
In Toulouse, 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice
Toulouse, France's fourth largest city, has saved 1 million euro by migrating all its desktops to LibreOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. "Free software and open source in general is now an established part of the city’s comprehensive digital policy, and the open model promotes economic development and employment in the region", according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository today.

Moving to LibreOffice is one of the key projects in the city's IT strategy, the study reports. Currently several thousand people out of the 10,000 who work for the city and Toulouse Métropole use LibreOffice daily. The migration started in 2012, following the political decision in 2011. The switch took a year and a half, and 90 per cent of the desktops now run LibreOffice, the study finds.

Switching to free software results in cost-savings, the study quotes current and former city officials as saying. "Software licenses for productivity suites cost Toulouse 1.8 million euro every three years. Migration cost us about 800,000 euro, due partly to some development. One million euro has actually been saved in the first three years. It is a compelling proof in the actual context of local public finance", the study quotes Erwane Monthubert, who was responsible for the city's IT policy until April this year, as saying.

It's not like the French are new to all this either. It was reported earlier that the French Gendarmerie, a branch of the French Armed Forces in charge of public safety, has been a leader in moving away from proprietary software towards FOSS alternatives in recent years. As early as in 2004, they decided to stop using Microsoft Office and embraced OpenOffice and the Open Document Format instead. That meant 90,000 PCs moved to OpenOffice, and 20,000 Office licenses were no longer needed. Then they adopted Firefox for web browsing and Thunderbird for email by 2006. And 2007 saw Gimp and VLC installed across the network.

And then, in 2008, French Gendarmerie decided to go a step further and began migrating its systems from Windows to Ubuntu. Initially 5,000 PCs were switched to Ubuntu in 2008, that went up to 20,000 by 2011, and currently sits at 37,000 Ubuntu PCs.

[Source: Open source observatory]

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

Tech Drive-in 29 Jul 2014, 6:55 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

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

Tech Drive-in 29 Jul 2014, 12:10 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]

Privacy Badger: Adblock Plus alternative from EFF to protect your privacy

Tech Drive-in 27 Jul 2014, 10:51 pm | Tech Drive-in

Privacy Badger is a privacy-protector and ad-blocker tool from the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation). Privacy Badger extension for Firefox and Chrome/Chromium.
Privacy Badger by EFF
Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. It is similar to Adblock Plus or Ghostery, but different in its own ways too. 
Privacy Badger is not an ad-blocker primarily. It is a privacy tool which aims to prevent non-consensual invasions of people's privacy. Just that EFF badge gives it a lot of credibility even. Privacy Badger is available as an extension for Firefox and Chrome. Get it here

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

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.

      Tech Drive-in

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