Linux, Ubuntu & Android News
5 Oct 2015, 7:20 pm | Tech Drive-in
As the name indicates, Folder Color lets you better organize your folders by assigning colors. App provides a rather simple functionality, but have been proving quite useful to me.
Add some color to your Folders!The simplest of apps can have profound impact on your daily routine. Folder Color is one such application. Color code your folders so that you can easily find/differentiate the important stuff when you need it. Works great with Nautilus, Nemo and Caja File Browser (official file manager for the MATE desktop). Supports major distros such as Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, openSUSE, Arch etc. Installation and usage is pretty straight forward. Take a look:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:costales/folder-color
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install folder-color
The last command will restart Nautilus and voila! Folder-Color is up and ready to go. Open your file browser and right-click on any folder. You will find Folder's Color entry with a lot of options to choose from. If the Folder's Color option does not appear immediately, restart you file-browser using nautilus -q command and then try again. Those who are using other distros and file-browsers, more download options are available. HERE.
24 Sep 2015, 6:19 pm | Tech Drive-in
As far as am average Linux user is concerned, the launch of Steam for Linux was perhaps the most critical event happened in the last decade. Speculations started as early as in 2010 when it came to know that Valve is actively looking for people who can port Windows games to Linux. After many ups and downs, Steam for Linux was finally confirmed in 2012 and they even went on to launch a limited access beta in November that year itself. But not even the most optimist among us expected such a tremendous turn around for Linux gaming.
1,500 Linux Titles: Steam on Linux Breaks New GroundMost hardcore Linux users had a Windows partition just to meet their gaming needs. But things were starting to change. The floodgates were opened when the Steam client for Linux came out of beta in 2013. Barrage of major gaming titles started pouring in so much that Steam client is a must have app now if you are a Linux user (available in Ubuntu Software Center). Left 4 Dead 2, Half Life 1 & 2, Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, XCOM, Witcher 2, Football Manager 2014, Shank 2, Dota 2, Don't Starve, the list goes on.
Not only that. Valve also builds and runs all of its source code, animation and assets on Linux - a typical setup for companies in the gaming industry, says Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve inc., while speaking at LinuxCon 2013. "Valve became convinced that Linux is the future of gaming," he added.
According to a report by Phoronix, Valve has been adding as much as 100 Linux titles per month throughout the last several months. The total number of games for Linux platform swelled to a whopping 1,500 now from 1000 in February 2015. A significant number even when compared to other supported platforms. To put this in context, number of supported titles for Windows is 6,464 and OSX is 2,323 respectively. New games continue to be ported to Linux and offered via Steam almost daily.
But there is still room for improvement, the report adds. Even though there has been a number of exciting titles like DiRT Showdown, Company of Heroes 2, Metro 2033 etc., many of the games ported over to Linux have been small, indie-type games. According to Valve, the five most popular Linux games right now include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, ARK: Survival Evolved, Team Fortress 2, and Dota 2.
[Image source: Linux Gamecast, Full report: Phoronix]
19 Sep 2015, 2:00 pm | Tech Drive-in
Open source became part of state policy in India recently. French Armed Forces ditched many thousands of Windows PCs for Ubuntu and used FOSS solutions to cut costs. So did UK Government. And speaking of Italy, Turin recently became the first Italian city to adopt Ubuntu and LibreOffice saving millions of Euros in licensing and other costs involved with proprietary solutions. The momentum is clearly building in favor of FOSS alternatives. And Italian Military becomes the latest to join the Open Source bandwagon.
Italian Armed Forces Adopts LibreOffice and Open Document Format (ODF)Italian Military joins the latest list of LibreOffice and ODF adopters. The Ministry of Defense will over the next year-and-a-half install this suite of office productivity tools on some 150,000 PC workstations - making it Europe’s second largest LibreOffice implementation, according to Open Source observatory.
Italian Agency for the Digitization of the Public Sector (AGID) congratulated the Ministry of Defence, and hoped that other organizations will follow through. The switch was announced on 15 September by the LibreItalia Association, an NGO working to promote FOSS solutions in Italy. The NGO will help the ministry to ready trainers in different parts of the military, and the Ministry is to develop a series of online courses to help with the switch to LibreOffice. The material is to be made public using a Creative Commons licence.
The switch to LibreOffice is a consequence of a June 2012 law which says that free and open source should be the default option for the country’s public administrations, according to LibreItalia. The project is also one of Europe’s largest. In a world where the mightiest of corporations and even the International Space Station adopting Linux and FOSS, this is hardly surprising. (further reading, image source)
19 Sep 2015, 7:13 am | Tech Drive-in
After BQ Aquaris and Meizu MX4, a new manufacturer is getting ready to launch their first ever Ubuntu hardware. This time, its a Tablet with top of the line specs. And the startup in question is MJ Technology LLC.
First ever Ubuntu powered Tablet brought to you by MJ TechnologyThe brand new Ubuntu Tablet will come in two sizes. The 8.9" model will retail for $349.00 while the 10.1" model will come with a price tag of $399.00. The specifications are as follows:
- 2.4Ghz Intel Quad Core
- 4GB DDR3 Ram
- 64GB internal storage by default and optional 128GB internal storage
- MicroSD Slot for external storage (Currently takes 128GB MicroSd TF Cards)
- Mini PCI-Express Slot Internal with External access
- One USB 2.0 Port and one USB 3.0 Port
- One Micro USB Port
- G Sensor, Compass, Gyroscope
- 8.9" and 10.1" HD IPS Display with Resolution of 1920x1200 with 10 point multi-touch
- 2.4/5GHZ Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.0
- Micro HDMI Out
- Speakers 2W x 2
- Camera: 8MP Front Facing and 13MP Rear Facing
- 8.9" battery: 7500mAh, 10.1" battery: 8500mAh
You could have a maximum 256 GB of storage capacity (internal + external). Mini PCI-Express slot is unheard of in the world the Tablets. Even most laptop these days don't have a provision for it. And the addition of 1920 x 1200 resolution 10 point multi-touch IPS display makes it a worthy contender.
Pre-order will start soon. Their website, www.MJ-Technology.com, was supposed to go live on Sept 7th. But there seems to be some delay of sorts. Meanwhile, you can follow MJ Technology's facebook page for release updates. The first ever Ubuntu Tablet is expected to have full retail availability from January 2016.
16 Sep 2015, 3:03 pm | Tech Drive-in
Built on top on Raspberry Pi, Mycroft intends to become your personal home Artificial Intelligence platform that can play your media, control lighting, lock your door and can control pretty much any IoT (Internet of Things) capable device you have in your home. Mycroft's Kickstarter campaign has been massively successful and has already raised some $110,353 beating its target of $99,000.
Mycroft: An Open Source, Open Hardware Artificial Intelligence For Everyone
Mycroft uses natural language to control Internet of Things. Mycroft intends to take away AI from the domain of few private players into the hands of people. Mycroft is the world's first open source, open hardware home A.I. platform and is built on top of Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino. Mycroft uses natural language processing to respond to your voice (similar to Google Now, Siri and Cortana, but with more fucntionalities). It makes online services like YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify and others available to you instantly.
As you can see, it isn't just for streaming devices. Mycroft has an integrated high quality speaker. It can play music directly. Mycroft also integrates with your smart devices and allows you to control the Internet of Things. Connect Mycroft to your SmartThings hub, WeMo devices or Phillips Hue lights and command your devices with the sound of your voice. Turn on lights, lock doors, make coffee, water plants and feed pets. Whatever it is - If it is connected to the internet - Mycroft can control it. And that's the bottom line.
More importantly, Mycroft is an open source and open hardware platform. It allows developers, makers and tinkerers to explore their own ideas. Mycroft has also decided to partner with Canonical and will be using Snappy Core Ubuntu as the OS of choice. That makes the deal even sweeter. Here's Mycroft on Kickstarter. Mycroft is priced at only $129 per unit. But as an early adopter, you can get one at $99 apiece.
16 Sep 2015, 2:59 pm | Tech Drive-in
I don't even remember the last time when I used KDE. The versions after KDE 3.x were not really my cup of tea. But when Sean mailed me some of his new works, I just had to try KDE one more time. Sean (half-left) is a renowned designer and customization guru who for years have been producing some of the greatest themes and artwork for Linux desktop. And as always, his latest creations are just as good as ever. 3 gorgeous Plasma 5 themes folks.
KDE Plasma 5 First Impressions
First and foremost, a few things about the latest KDE. So I installed Kubuntu 15.04 on my USB yesterday and have been using it ever since. I got to tell you, KDE over the years has improved by leaps and bounds. Initial KDE Plasma versions received a lot of flak for being buggy and unreliable, especially the Kubuntu implementation of the same. Not anymore. Plasma 5 seems robust, well-designed and packed to the brim with features.
I especially liked the new launcher. It is so damn fast! The overall design feels very mature and clean. And the notifications implementation is perhaps the best Linux has to offer in this space. Another highlight was Dolphin file browser, so full of features, yet very light and really really fast. This does deserve a detailed review. Stay tuned.
Gorgeous KDE Plasma 5 Themes by Half-left
- This one is still in the works.
21 Aug 2015, 4:34 pm | Tech Drive-in
Shotcut Video Editor for Linux with 4K Support
From its humble beginnings several years ago, Shotcut is one of those apps that just kept on getting better with each new release, the latest version being 15.07 (denoting the month and year of the release). The biggest addition to Shotcut video editor for this new version is full 4K UHD support.
As the developer notes, "Shotcut has been able to do 4K for a while now if you made a custom video mode or correctly use automatic mode. However, there were a few things we wanted to do before making it official. First, you really need to be using a 64-bit build, and we delivered that for Windows in the previous release. For this release, we added 4K video modes to the Settings menu and extended our support for Blackmagic Design 4K SDI & HDMI devices".Shotcut 15.07 also comes with 5 new audio and video filters. These new 'old film' video effects can be considered as toy filters. "The film grain effect does not try to emulate any real film stock, and the Technocolor filter does not try to faithfully reproduce the 20th century Technicolor processes. It merely intends to approximate the look.", writes Dan Dennedy in his blog post. The article goes on to further discuss about the other prominent changes & improvements to Shotcut in this new release. Full feature list can be found here.
Also, Shotcut video editor is multi-platform. Different packages for Linux, Windows and OS X are available. For Linux, officially supported distros include Mint 12+, Ubuntu 12.04+, Debian 7+, Fedora 15+, openSUSE 12+, Arch and Manjaro Linux. Downloads here. [thanks to my good friend and reader aashiks for tipping us]
21 Aug 2015, 4:20 pm | Tech Drive-in
From the most consumer focused distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint or elementary OS to the more obscure, minimal and enterprise focused ones such as Slackware, Arch Linux or RHEL, I thought I've seen them all. Couldn't have been any further from the truth. Linux eco-system is very diverse. There's one for everyone. Let's discuss the weird and wacky world of niche Linux distros that represents the true diversity of open platforms.
Puppy Linux: An operating system which is about 1/10th the size of an average DVD quality movie rip, that's Puppy Linux for you. The OS is just 100 MB in size! And it can run from RAM making it unusually fast even in older PCs. You can even remove the boot medium after the operating system has started! Can it get any better than that? System requirements are bare minimum, most hardware are automatically detected, and it comes loaded with software catering to your basic needs. Experience Puppy Linux.
Suicide Linux: Did the name scare you? Well it should. 'Any time - any time - you type any remotely incorrect command, the interpreter creatively resolves it into rm -rf / and wipes your hard drive'. Simple as that. I really want to know the ones who are confident enough to risk their production machines with Suicide Linux. Warning: DO NOT try this on production machines! The whole thing is available in a neat DEB package if you're interested.
PapyrOS: "Strange" in a good way. PapyrOS is trying to adapt the material design language of Android into their brand new Linux distribution. Though the project is in early stages, it already looks very promising. The project page says the OS is 80% complete and one can expect the first Alpha release anytime soon. We did a small write up on PapyrOS when it was announced and by the looks of it, PapyrOS might even become a trend-setter of sorts. Follow the project on Google+ and contribute via BountySource if you're interested.
Qubes OS: Qubes is an open-source operating system designed to provide strong security using a Security by Compartmentalization approach. The assumption is that there can be no perfect, bug-free desktop environment. And by implementing a 'Security by Isolation' approach, Qubes Linux intends to remedy that. Qubes is based on Xen, the X Window System, and Linux, and can run most Linux applications and supports most Linux drivers. Qubes was selected as a finalist of Access Innovation Prize 2014 for Endpoint Security Solution.
Ubuntu Satanic Edition: Ubuntu SE is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. "It brings together the best of free software and free metal music" in one comprehensive package consisting of themes, wallpapers, and even some heavy-metal music sourced from talented new artists. Though the project doesn't look actively developed anymore, Ubuntu Satanic Edition is strange in every sense of that word. Ubuntu SE (Slightly NSFW).
Tiny Core Linux: Puppy Linux not small enough? Try this. Tiny Core Linux is a 12 MB graphical Linux desktop! Yep, you read it right. One major caveat: It is not a complete desktop nor is all hardware completely supported. It represents only the core needed to boot into a very minimal X desktop typically with wired internet access. There is even a version without the GUI called Micro Core Linux which is just 9MB in size. Tiny Core Linux folks.
NixOS: A very experienced-user focused Linux distribution with a unique approach to package and configuration management. In other distributions, actions such as upgrades can be dangerous. Upgrading a package can cause other packages to break, upgrading an entire system is much less reliable than reinstalling from scratch. And top of all that you can't safely test what the results of a configuration change will be, there's no "Undo" so to speak. In NixOS, the entire operating system is built by the Nix package manager from a description in a purely functional build language. This means that building a new configuration cannot overwrite previous configurations. Most of the other features follow this pattern. Nix stores all packages in isolation from each other. More about NixOS.
GoboLinux: This is another very unique Linux distro. What makes GoboLinux so different from the rest is its unique re-arrangement of the filesystem. It has its own subdirectory tree, where all of its files and programs are stored. GoboLinux does not have a package database because the filesystem is its database. In some ways, this sort of arrangement is similar to that seen in OS X. Get GoboLinux.
Hannah Montana Linux: Here is a Linux distro based on Kubuntu with a Hannah Montana themed boot screen, KDM, icon set, ksplash, plasma, color scheme, and wallpapers (I'm so sorry). Link. Project not active anymore.
RLSD Linux: An extremely minimalistic, small, lightweight and security-hardened, text-based operating system built on Linux. "It's a unique distribution that provides a selection of console applications and home-grown security features which might appeal to hackers," developers claim. RLSD Linux.
Did we miss anything even stranger? Let us know.
7 Aug 2015, 4:51 am | Tech Drive-in
India joins a new breed of nations that have come openly supporting open source software solutions as part of the declared state policy. The Government of India has adopted a comprehensive and supportive open source policy building on their earlier efforts to adopt open standards for procurement.
India's Massive "Digital India" Program And The Role of Open Solutions
Government of India (GoI) is implementing a Digital India program as an umbrella program to 'prepare India for a knowledge based transformation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy'. This require a major overhaul of hardware and software infrastructure. Many firms have already committed to the tune of US$ 71 billion towards the initiative. But to ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs, open source solutions are as important.
"Organizations worldwide have adopted innovative alternative solutions in order to optimise costs by exploring avenues of “Open Source Software”. GoI has also been promoting the use of open source technologies in the eGovernance domain within the country to leverage economic & strategic beneifts." "Government of India shall endeavour to adopt Open Source Software in all e-Governance systems as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS)."The policy document titled "Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India" put forwaded by its Ministry of Communication & Information Technology has 3 key objectives:
A perfect summation of benefits I must admit. As stated in the document, it is not just about the cost-advantage. Open Source software solutions brings about qualities such as longevity and sustainability which can be very critical for massive initiatives such as Digital India. The government is currently working on creating an implementation mechanism for Open Source software that can be then replicated across the country.
- To provide a policy framework for rapid and effective adoption of OSS
- To ensure strategic control in e-Governance applications and systems from a long-term perspective.
- To reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of projects.
Further reading at opensource.com. Full policy document PDF can be found here (PDF). Also read how Turin saved millions of Euros by becoming the first Italian city to adopt Ubuntu and Open Office.
28 Jul 2015, 9:51 pm | Tech Drive-in
The most popular platform among C/C++ developers is Linux, according to a survey by Jetbrains, a company that makes a wide range of tools for developers. Linux commands a whopping 44 percent market share while Microsoft's Windows and Apple's iOS platforms control 39 and 17 percent market shares respectively.
Linux Preferred Platform Among C and C++ Developers, Says Survey
It is rather surprising to know that the platform least used by regular users is the most preferred platform among developers. May be these are the first signs of a major shift in OS usage patterns among the masses. The developers are slowly warming up to the advantages of Linux as a development platform. Some of the things that makes Linux generally superior to its compatriots is discussed here: Why is Linux faster than Windows?
Coming back to the survey, there are about 4.4 million C++ devs and 1.9 million C devs in the world. While C++ is among the top 5 preferred programming languages among developers, C is on par with Ruby grabbing the 8th most popular spot. C++ is relatively more popular than other languages and technologies in countries such as Russia, Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, Singapore, Finland, Israel and Czech Republic.
Also according to the survey, C++ is most used in industries such as Finance and Banking. More interesting statistics and detailed infographic can be found here.