Linux, Ubuntu & Android News
25 Feb 2015, 11:24 pm | Tech Drive-in
MPV - Clean and simple media player for Linux
MPV is a free, open source, and cross-platform media player based on mplayer2 and MPlayer. Though heavily sharing characteristics with its parent projects, MPV further extended their functionalities and added more features while getting nimbler at the same time. MPV is a command line based tool and can be launched from Terminal only, but you can always make it your default media player for different media file formats.
- Powerful command-line based media player with wide range of functionalities.
- High quality video output, supports video scaling with popular high quality algorithms, color management etc.
- While MPV has no official GUI, it has a small controller that is triggered by mouse movement. Good enough trade-off when you consider the nimbleness of MPV.
- Add the following PPA, update your repositories, and you are good to go. Open Terminal and copy-paste the following commands.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/mpv-tests
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mpv
- Select your media, right click on it and choose "open in mpv" option. I have set mpv as my default media player for a host of file types. Honestly, I'm really impressed by it so far.
- MPV is not just an ordinary media player either. It is a powerful command line tool with capabilities for capturing audio/video output, format conversion, content streaming etc. See mpv manpages for more details. And MPV is being actively developed too. More download options for other platforms can be found here.
21 Feb 2015, 8:13 am | Tech Drive-in
University Paris 8 adopts Krita, ditches Photoshop
The ATI (Art and Technology of Image) department at University Paris 8 is switching over to Krita this year, primary reason being the immense cost benefits that Krita has over costly proprietary alternatives such as Adobe's Photoshop.
This department has the double aim to train students both to use graphic software (2D,3D,VFX and Compositing) and to code their own (Python, C#, C++). Until recently the classes used only Adobe Photoshop, but because of inadequate support from the company the department decided to replace that, according to Krita.
In an interview with Libre Graphics World, University Paris 8's François Grassard, the man behind the department's switch-over to Krita, confirms that their budget is indeed the primary reason for choosing Krita over Photoshop.
"Our university is among public schools that are mostly free in France, except registration fees that are pretty acceptable in comparison to fees in some other countries. To acquire all licenses of software that we teach, we have to rely on our own budget only. And our budget is ridiculously low. So we always have to talk to software vendors about the price of licenses."
"Some companies are pretty fair with us, and we can, for instance, buy all Maya licenses we need. In other cases, companies can't lower the price of their products. That was the case for Adobe. We asked for a discount, they said they can't do that. End of the story." So instead of simply using a cracked version of Adobe Photoshop, the team decides to give Krita a chance.
Enter Krita, the power-packed opensource Photoshop alternative
After being introduced to Krita by an industry expert, students at ATI were mostly impressed by the capabilities of the software, says Grassard. Of course, it's not so easy to learn new software when you have used Photoshop for such a long time. But they decides to give it a go anyway.
Story behind Blender and Natron
Blender is a well-know free and opensource 3D modelling & graphics software widely used for making animated movies while Natron is an opensource compositing software. Unlike Krita, the most students at ATI were already quite familiar with Blender. So the choice of this software came naturally from our students, says Grassard. He himself being an ardent user of Blender 3D graphics software, the choice of Blender was pretty straight forward.
Commendable courage and determination shown here by the students as well as their mentor at ATI. We wish them the very best. Read his full interview at Libre Graphics World.
19 Feb 2015, 7:37 pm | Tech Drive-in
Chromecast support and VLC 3.0
A changelog posted by VLC has confirmed that support for the Google Chromecast, the mighty popular TV dongle, is soon to be added to one of the most loved open source media player out there. That means users will be able to stream just about any media file through VLC media player to the connected Chromecast TV dongle.
Still, it is not entirely clear whether the changes are applicable to VLC player across platforms, but there are indications. VLC had previously revealed that it was looking to add Chromecast support for its entire suite of apps. Let the release happen and then we'll know for sure.
19 Feb 2015, 3:32 am | Tech Drive-in
Trinity Bundle brought to you by Bundle Stars
"All Steam, All Windows, All Mac, All Linux - Save $120 on 10 epic games in the Trinity Bundle, only $2.49!" Official list of games include:
- Pixel Boy and the Ever Expanding Dungeon (Action-RPG Shoot-em-up)
- STRONGHOLD 3 GOLD (simulation, Strategy)
- IO (an abstract physics platformer)
- REVENGE OF THE TITANS (real-time Strategy and Tower Defense)
- NAM (classic FPS)
- ERADICATOR (arcade-style action shooter)
- TERRIAN SAGA: KR-17 (side-scrolling action puzzle-platformer)
- SENTINEL (tower-defense, strategy)
- LEGENDS OF AETHEREUS (online action-roleplaying game)
- SHINY THE FIREFLY (platform adventure)
11 Feb 2015, 2:28 pm | Tech Drive-in
US launch of a new Ubuntu Phone likely by the end of this year!A seasoned Ubuntu enthusiast, Sujeevan Vijayakumaran, got to meet Cristian Parrino from Canonical during the sidelines of Ubuntu Phone Insider Launch Event. The short interview resulted in many striking revelations by Canonical's mobile phone division VP. Among them, the most important one was the fact that Canonical is indeed planning to launch an Ubuntu Phone in US by the end of this year. Also, a third mobile phone manufacturer, apart from Meizu and BQ, is actively pursuing its version of an Ubuntu Phone. Excerpts from the interview:
- About the release dates of Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition:
- About the third manufacturer and the release of Ubuntu Phone in US:
Read the full interview in Sujeevan Vijayakumaran's blog. I'm more excited for the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition for now because, from the initial looks, it seems to have a superior hardware when compared to BQ's Ubuntu Phone. As an Ubuntu enthusiast, wonderful times ahead!
11 Feb 2015, 8:00 am | Tech Drive-in
elementray OS Freya beta 2
Freya beta 2 was released the other day and it came with a treasure trove of new features and changes. Among them, this tiny little feature went unnoticed.
Whenever you try copy-pasting a command to Terminal that asks for root access (has sudo in it), Freya will warn you with the following message: "This command is asking for Administrative access to your computer. Copying commands from the Internet can be dangerous. Be sure you understand what each part of this command does." A welcome addition in my opinion, especially when you consider the fact that a lot of elementary/Ubuntu adopters are first time Linux users.
However, I would still prefer to have a "never show this again" tickbox along with it as an option, so that experienced users are not bothered.
- Speaking of CLI, check out this deceptively awesome Terminal Emulator: cool-old-term
Bringing the power of Ubuntu to Drones: Erle-Copter's first flight running Snappy Ubuntu Core a grand success!
10 Feb 2015, 4:24 pm | Tech Drive-in
Erle Robotics: First flight with Ubuntu Snappy CoreLinux is no alien to drone technology. Linux Foundation's Dronecode Project underlines the importance of Linux in the Internet of Things space. On the other hand, Ubuntu with its Snappy Core is already making strides. In a recent blog post, Erle Robotics have announced that they have successfully did the first flight of Erle-Copter drone which runs on Ubuntu Snappy Core. "The experience so far is amazing and Snappy Ubuntu is super lightweight", concluded the team behind the project. Check out Erle-Copter's first flight with Ubuntu Snappy Core.
Linux is conquering the enterprise space like no other. Erle Copter is a testament to that fact. Subscribe and stay updated about everything that matter to you as a Linux fan.
BQ's Aquaris E4.5 all set to become the first ever Ubuntu Phone! Beautiful promo videos featuring Ubuntu Phones are up too
6 Feb 2015, 6:29 pm | Tech Drive-in
|image above does not represent the actual Ubuntu Phone|
eventhough the hardware used is the same
Jane Silber, CEO at Canonical comments; "The launch of the first Ubuntu smartphones is a significant milestone. The new experience we deliver for users, as well as the opportunities for differentiation for manufacturers and operators, are a compelling and much-needed change from what is available today. We’re excited that a rising star like BQ has recognised this opportunity and is helping us make it a reality."
Alberto Mendez, CEO at BQ comments; "Ubuntu is a totally different concept in mobile operating systems and we are proud of the fact that our customers will get to enjoy it before anyone else in the world. At BQ we support diversity in operating systems because it brings positive benefits for the technology sector and also for the user, who has the freedom to choose."
The sleek, 8GB Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition comes in black. It features a 5 megapixel front camera and 8 megapixel rear camera with autofocus, dual flash and full HD video capture. The rear camera is also equipped with high-quality BSI sensors and a Largan lens. It features a MediaTek Quad Core Cortex A7 processor running at up to 1.3 GHz and 1GB RAM.
Are you as excited as I'm? Ubuntu Phone OS looks absolutely beautiful. And I would love to grab one as and when it is available. Stay tuned for updates.
6 Feb 2015, 2:14 pm | Tech Drive-in
Though Linux has always been a very stable and reliable OS, ease-of-use and the way it looked was never an area of concern for a long time. Then came Ubuntu in 2004 (see history of Ubuntu) with a strong focus on usability and things were starting to change. Ubuntu's Unity UI is idiot-friendly while not compromising on power-user specific features such as HUD. In my opinion, Ubuntu's default OS installer is the best in the market currently in terms of ease of use and reliability, even when compared to costly proprietary alternatives.
But even the latest Ubuntu is lacking in terms of design and theming. By recruiting many high-profile designers, it seems they are working on it. Also, there are Ubuntu based alternatives such as elementary OS whose entire focus is on design and usability. Their upcoming Freya OS has already made quite an impression on us (read our Freya review). If PapyrOS materializes and manages to achieve even half of what it set out to, it is going to be a big win for the community.
PapyrOS: A material design themed Linux distro
PapyrOS is a new operating system based on the popular Arch Linux platform which conforms to Google’s Material Design guidelines. "A stable and easy-to-use operating system with an heavy emphasis on well-thought-out design". Work on the OS is progressing fast and their design team has done some great mockups for the installer and some of the core apps, which includes the web browser and calculator as of now. (picture above is an actual screenshot)
Looks pretty darn good so far. If you are using Arch, the first PapyrOS packages are already available in the AUR, which you can install as papyros-shell (very unstable probably). The work on the desktop shell is going on and the implemented features so far include a music control widget in the notification drawer, sound indicator, power indicator and a classic layout, similar to Chrome OS. Works on the all important App Launcher and basic desktop layout are currently underway. You can follow the developments through Papyros.io. Here are a few more mockups and some material designed PapyrOS wallpapers. Click to see the images in full size.
5 Feb 2015, 4:21 pm | Tech Drive-in
International Space Station switches from Windows to Linux
United Kingdom, City of Turin (Italy), City of Toulose (France), NASA, ASIMO Robotics, world's fastest supercomputer, Google, I could go on. The number of countries, cities and organisations that has adopted Linux and other open source solutions are simply staggering. And the changes are only starting to get traction in my opinion. See what International Space Station has to say about their switch from Windows to Linux.
The United Space Alliance, which manages the computers aboard the International Space Station in association with NASA, has announced that the Windows XP computers aboard the ISS have been switched to Linux. "We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable."
In specific, the "dozens of laptops" will make the change to Debian 6. These laptops will join many other systems aboard the ISS that already run various flavors of Linux, such as RedHat and Scientific Linux. As far as we know, after this transition, there won’t be a single computer aboard the ISS that runs Windows.
Beyond stability and reliability, Keith Chuvala of the United Space Alliance says they wanted an operating system that "would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could." It’s worth noting that the ISS laptops used to run Windows XP, and we know they’ve been infected by at least one virus in their lifetime: in 2008, a Russian cosmonaut brought a laptop aboard with the W32.Gammima.AG worm, which quickly spread to the other laptops on board. Switching to Linux will essentially immunize the ISS against future infections.
[Read full story at ExtremeTech]