Linux, Ubuntu & Android News
27 Jan 2016, 7:33 pm | Tech Drive-in
Ubuntu is slowly but steadily improving its footprint in the web server space. W3Tech provides some of the most reliable data regarding the use of various technologies in the web server space. According to W3Tech's latest set of data, Ubuntu is now commanding 11.1% market-share among websites 'whose operating system we know'.
Ubuntu: W3Tech's Operating System of the year 2015Up from a meagre 4% share in 2011, Ubuntu's is now used by 11.1% of all the websites whose operating system we know. This according to the latest set of web server usage statistics released by W3Techs.
This massive surge is market-share over the years are among the reasons why Ubuntu grabbed the top spot among operating systems in web-server space in the W3Techs survey 2015. Ubuntu is followed by Gentoo while Scientific Linux came in at a surprising no.3 position. Last year's winner, Debian, failed to feature in the top 3. Windows on the other hand has never been able to regain its pole position since 2010.
12 Dec 2015, 10:37 am | Tech Drive-in
Ubuntu powered Drones are not new. Erle Robotics showcased their Drones that run on top of Snappy Ubuntu Core sometime ago. But the ones unveiled by UAVIA recently are slightly different.
How are UAVIA drones different?
During the TechCrunch Disrupt event held in London a few days ago, UAVIA unveiled a new generation of completely remote controlled drones, powered by Snappy Ubuntu Core. "This will be the first time that 100% remotely operable drones will be available in the market - and they’ve been built with Ubuntu under the hood."
Drones in its current forms are pretty cumbersome machines which also requires the operator to be physically present at the location. Flight ranges are also pretty limited. UAVIA lifts these technical limitations by using its Cloud Control technology as well as charging stations dispatched directly on field.
"This enables remote sensing and surveillance without any human intervention on field, dramatically reducing costs for companies in the need of surveillance or technical monitoring on industrial sites. This is the first step towards full autonomy which will see the drone market explode."Maarten Ectors, Vice President Internet of Things at Canonical: "For drones to become mainstream, we need more of them to become autonomous and we need to facilitate their maintenance. Ubuntu Core is key to unlocking the full drone potential. It brings onboard intelligence to help drones progress towards autonomous flight thanks to sense and avoid technologies. It facilitates maintenance by making remote software deployments secure, effective and failsafe. UAVIA drones have banked on these attributes building their entire service on Ubuntu on-device, on server and on the pilot software!"
Further reading at Ubuntu Insights | Related: Dronecode Project by Linux Foundation
25 Oct 2015, 4:56 pm | Tech Drive-in
A Brief History of Ubuntu
A new version of Ubuntu is released every 6 months like clockwork, and as of Oct 2015, a grand total of 23 stable releases has been delivered. Each release also has a specific code name which are made using an adjective and an animal with the same first letter (e.g. Hardy Heron, Wily Werewolf). We will do a brief overview of each one of them below. A walk back through the history of Ubuntu. Read on.
Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)
Ubuntu 4.10 codenamed "Warty Warthog" marked the beginning of a new kid in the block, the first and foremost release of Ubuntu by Canonical foundation. This new Linux distro was based on Debian and aimed at giving new users a trouble free experience of Linux. This release also crucially brought the Ubuntu shipit feature where by users could get Ubuntu installation CD's mailed to their homes for free through a simple signup. Shipit was one of those key USPs that made Ubuntu a very popular choice among youngsters in those early days. I think I still have several lying around near my old PC. And who can forget those Ubuntu branded stickers!
Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog)
Ubuntu 5.04 codenamed "Hoary Hedgehog" was released on 8 April 2005. From this second release onwards, massive changes started to trickle in. Ubuntu 5.04 added many new features including an update manager, upgrade notifier, readahead and grepmap, suspend, hibernate and standby support, dynamic frequency scaling for processors among many other major improvements. Ubuntu 5.04 was so ahead of its time that it even introduced support for installation from USB devices.
Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger)
Ubuntu 5.10 codenamed "Breezy Badger" was released on 12 October 2005, the third stable release of Ubuntu by Canonical. Ubuntu 5.10 added several new features including a graphical bootloader (Usplash), an Add/Remove Applications tool, a menu editor, an easy language selector, crucial logical volume management support, full Hewlett-Packard printer support, OEM installer support among others. More importantly, this release also brought in Launchpad integration for bug reporting and software development.
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake)
Ubuntu 6.06 LTS codenamed "Dapper Drake" was released on 1 June 2006. It was also the first Long Term Support(LTS) release. This was also the only time when the Ubuntu release cycle was slightly pushed forward by 2 months owing to all sorts of delays. Many new features were introduced including having the Live CD and Install CD merged onto one disc, a graphical installer on Live CD, a network manager for easy switching of multiple wired and wireless connections, implementation of Humanlooks theme among other improvements.
Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)
Ubuntu 6.10 codenamed "Edgy Eft" was released on 26 October 2006, Canonical's fifth Ubuntu release. Tomboy, F-Spot became new defaults. Human theme also went through heavy modifications.
Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)
Ubuntu 7.04 codenamed "Feisty Fawn" was released on 19 April 2007. This release had a very special significance for me. Feisty was my first real Linux experience. I was a complete noob to the whole Linux way of life then and barely installed Ubuntu in my laptop with the help of friends and Ubuntu Forums. And to be frank, the primary reason for me trying out Ubuntu was Compiz and all the bling that came with it. In those clogged XP-Vista days, Compiz was (and it still is in many ways) a breath of fresh air.
Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)
Ubuntu 7.10 codenamed "Gutsy Gibbon" released on 18 October 2007. Ubuntu 7.10 introduced Compiz Fusion as a default feature. This seventh release of Ubuntu also marked the introduction of full NTFS support.
Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)
Ubuntu 8.04 codenamed "Hardy Heron" was released on 24 April 2008. This was the second LTS version of Ubuntu. In my opinion, this release had one of the best designed Ubuntu wallpaper as default. Brasero disc burner and transmission bit torrent client were introduced during this release. Controversial Pulse Audio became the new default system sound server. This release also introduced Wubi installer using which you can install Ubuntu inside Windows without repartitioning the disk.
Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)
Ubuntu 8.10 codenamed Intrepid Ibex was released on 30 October 2008. It was the ninth Ubuntu release and it was also one of my favorite releases. This release introduced useful Ubuntu Live USB creator application. Guest session functionality was also introduced during Intrepid Ibex release.
Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)
Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" was released on 23 April 2009. This release marked the first time that all of Ubuntu's core development moved to the Bazaar distributed revision control system which is designed to make it easier for anyone to contribute to free and open source software projects. Faster boot time was another major achievement of this release.
Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)
Ubuntu 9.10 codenamed "Karmic Koala" released on 29 October 2009. From this release onwards, Ubuntu slowly started to shift gears. A slew of changes started to flood Ubuntu. During Ubuntu Karmic's release cycle, Canonical introduced the One Hundred Paper Cuts project, focusing developers to fix minor usability issues. This was a major move and it helped bring a lot of polish for Ubuntu in the latter releases. This release also introduced Ubuntu Software Center.
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)
Ubuntu 10.04 codenamed "Lucid Lynx" was released on 29 April 2010. Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" is my favorite release to date and it brought about the biggest amount of changes ever. Ubuntu had a complete branding makeover during this release cycle. Even the brown theme was ditched for the first time for a more bright and pleasant looking "Light" inspired theme. Changes Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx went through.
Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)
Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed "Maverick Meerkat" was released on 10 October 2010 (10.10.10) at around 10:10 UTC. Close to the heels of Ubuntu Lucid release, Ubuntu Maverick was also packed with new features and improvements. Ubuntu Software Center became one of the applications that received maximum amount of attention. Canonical's attention to detail started showing up big time during Ubuntu 10.10 release cycle.
Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)
Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" was perhaps *the* most controversial Ubuntu release ever. Canonical introduced Unity shell with Ubuntu 11.04 which created quite a furore among its vast user base. Unity was Ubuntu's answer to GNOME 3.0's GNOME Shell desktop, though Ubuntu 11.04 was still based on previous GNOME 2.x.
Reactions from users was not really what Canonical would have hoped for. Unity was far less customisable when compared to earlier versions and that was simply unacceptable to many long-term Ubuntu users.
Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)
Ubuntu 11.10 codenamed "Oneiric Ocelot" was the first GNOME 3.0 based Ubuntu release. Oneiric did not brought in sweeping changes like its predecessor did. But it does brought in a lot of polish to the controversial Unity UI. LightDM replaced GDM as Ubuntu's new default login screen. Classic Gnome Desktop was completely ditched in favor of Unity 2D during this release cycle. A quick screenshot tour of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)
Quicklists was introduced as a default feature for the very first time. Apart from the usual three Unity lenses (Applications, Files and Music), there is an additional Video lens too which lets you select and play videos from a variety of sources ranging from your local collection to YouTube Movies, BBC iPlayer and TED Talks to name a few. HUD became fully operational. Default launcher behavior is set to "always visible" instead of "dodge windows". Rhythmbox is back again replacing Banshee as the default music player. Changes in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.
Ubuntu 12.10 (Quanty Quetzal)
Like most previous *.10 releases, Ubuntu 12.10 became the testing ground for a barrage of new features. We listed a grand total of 23 improvements/changes in Ubuntu 12.10, which is pretty staggering at any count. Improvements to LightDM based login screen, remote login facility, Unity Dash price ribbons, Local Apps filter, Launcher improvements, a new dedicated Ubuntu One Music app, and more privacy with the introduction of ON/OFF switch for online search results withing Unity Dash. Ubuntu 12.10 had its share of controversies also. For example, the introduction of Amazon shopping lens as default riled up many.
Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail)
Though Unity was improved leaps and bounds by now, it lacked the polishness and finesse it deserved. With the help of recently joined designer known for his gorgeous works including Faenza theme, Ubuntu 13.04 look and feel got some much needed attention. The new shutdown menu and core app icons were a class apart. The new "spinning" Unity dash icon and Software Updater icon set benchmarks in branding. Also, Wubi installer was dropped during this release owing to compatibility issues with Windows 8. And more importantly, it was decided that non-LTS Ubuntu releases will see their support periods halved (9 months instead of 18) from Ubuntu 13.04 onwards. Go through the list of visual changes in Ubuntu 13.04.
Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander)
With Unity maturing, updates became more minor in nature. There were talks about replacing Firefox with Chromium as default web browser for Ubuntu, but it never materialised. There were also talks about replacing aging X11 with XMir display server and then go on to completely replace X session by Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. But XMir still remains a work in progress.
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr)
Unity 7 was really starting to feel more "middle-aged" with every passing release. More incremental updates than sweeping changes showed signs of maturity. But even then, the ability to turn off the global menu and the arrival of Local Integrated Menus were welcome additions. Click to Minimize became available through a CCSM update. X11 was retained and XMir adoption pushed even further. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS was a largely uneventful LTS release, which can be a good thing in my opinion. Everything just worked.
Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn)
Ubuntu 14.10 was supposed to be rock solid released release with incremental updates. And it was, for many. But for me, this one was a pretty eventful release. Weirdly, I faced a lot of teething issues with Ubuntu 14.10 so much that I had to replace Ubuntu with elementary OS as my daily work horse for the first time (not that I'm complaining). Netflix started working out of the box, which was a big positive. This was also the release cycle during which Canonical seriously devoted resources into its mobile platform and work on Unity 8 was acquiring some serious momentum. Here's our compilation of things to do after installing Ubuntu 14.10.
Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)
With the arrival of Ubuntu 15.04, things were back to normal for me. Ubuntu was working just as good as ever, thanks to "Vivid Vervet". This was also the release when Upstart was finally dropped in favour of systemd. There were also improvements to Intel Haswell and AMD Radeon graphics performance. Visual changes? Not so much. Oh and don't forget to read our top things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04 compilation.
Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf)
Ubuntu 15.10 was released just yesterday without much fanfare. With works on Unity 8 improving at a rapid pace, Canonical is finding less and less reasons to spend time on adding features and functionalities on Unity 7 based Ubuntu 15.10 "Wily Werewolf". Ubuntu Touch OS meant for mobile platforms got a lot of attention, yet again, which is now capable of receiving instant over the air updates. Mir display server was also supposed to be there as default, but its release has been pushed further. Visually, the biggest change is the removal of disappearing window edge scrollbars (something I really liked) in favour of the upstream GNOME scrollbars. Underneath, there are not much changes, except for the updated Kernel. Very stable and reliable OS though, have been using it since the arrival of first beta. Download here.
Next in Line: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus"
This could turn out to be the most important Ubuntu release since the arrival of Unity, if not forever. To be released on 21 April 2016, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is expected to include Unity 8 running natively on Mir. I can't wait!
[Thanks to Wikipedia for screenshots of earlier versions of Ubuntu. And thank you for reading.]
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]