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Updated: 1 hour 21 min ago

Here’s How You Can Help Improve Ubuntu Phone

Thursday 1st of October 2015 04:45:26 PM

Got an Ubuntu Phone? Want to help make it awesome? Well, now you can – and it doesn’t involve USB cables or scary terminal commands!

Pilot is a new app for Ubuntu Touch that provides a way for existing Ubuntu Phone owners “…to participate more directly in testing the software that runs on their device.”

Pilot tests

For the first round of testing to be conducted via Pilot  four core apps are in the spotlight: Dekko, the soon-to-be default e-mail clients, Clock and Music apps, and the stock, rather hum-drum, Weather utility.

How To Take Part

To take part in the Pilot testing is simple enough. The only requirements are that you have an Ubuntu Phone, have some time to kill, and have an Ubuntu One account (needed to both install the app and submit results).

  1. Install Pilot from the Ubuntu Store scope
  2. Open the Pilot app from the App scope
  3. Press the  ‘Start Testing’ button
  4. Select the test(s) you wish to run
  5. Go through each test as directed
  6. Submit feedback/results/comments

Testing is not automatic. Any and all tests you select will need you to manually dive  into the each app and prod and poke settings (ergo don’t choose too many if you’re in a rush!).

Canonical’s Nicolas Skaggs says new tests will be added to the app over time via a software update. This, he says, will allow users to ‘test new things as they’re developed’ and bump the quality of the platform and its software for all users.

Do you plan to take part? How do you think Ubuntu Touch could be improved? Let us know in the whacking great comment space we’ve carved out below.

This post, Here’s How You Can Help Improve Ubuntu Phone, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

A Slick New Set-Up Wizard Is Coming To Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch

Monday 28th of September 2015 05:10:49 PM

The Ubuntu installer is set to undergo a dramatic makeover.

Ubuntu will modernise its out-of-the-box experience (OOBE) to be easier and quicker to complete, look more ‘seductive’ to new users, and better present the Ubuntu brand through its design.

The current Ubuntu installer, Ubiquity, was introduced back in 2010 and has undergone only minor design changes since then.

First Impressions Are Everything

Since the first thing most users see when trying Ubuntu for the first time is an installer (or set-up wizard, depending on device) the design team feel it’s “one of the most important categories of software usability”.

“It essentially says how easy your software is to use, as well as introducing the user into your brand through visual design and tone of voice, which can convey familiarity and trust within your product.”

Canonical’s new OOBE designs show a striking departure from the current look of the Ubiquity installer used by the Ubuntu desktop, and presents a refined approach to the way mobile users ‘set up’ a new Ubuntu Phone.

Old design (left) and the new proposed design

Detailing the designs in new blog post, the Canonical Design team say the aim of the revamp is to create a consistent out-of-the-box experience across Ubuntu devices.

To do this it groups together “common first experiences found on the mobile, tablet and desktop” and unifies the steps and screens between each, something they say moves the OS closer to “achieving a seamless convergent platform.”

New Ubuntu installer on desktop/tablet (left) and phone

Implementation of the new ‘OOBE’ has already begun’ according to Canonical, though as of writing there’s no firm word on when a revamped installer may land on either desktop or phone images.

With the march to ‘desktop’ convergence now in full swing, and a(nother) stack of design changes set to hit the mobile build in lieu of the first Ubuntu Phone that ‘transforms’ in to a PC, chances are you won’t have to wait too long to try it out.

What do you think of the designs? How would you go about improving the Ubuntu set-up experience? Let us know in the comments below.

This post, A Slick New Set-Up Wizard Is Coming To Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 Arrives With Unity Fixes, App Updates

Thursday 24th of September 2015 11:40:42 PM

Grab a coffee – it’s time to get testing

The second beta of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf is now available to download.

This release serves as the second and final beta in the Ubuntu 15.10 release schedule and is to be followed by a release candidate image on October 16.

Ubuntu 15.10, also known as by the codename Wily Werewolf, will be released officially on Thursday October 22, 2015.

But what’s new and improved? Let’s take a look.

What’s New in Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf

‘The Wily Werewolf sees Ubuntu undergo no major transformation’

Ready for the biggest shock of the year? There are no changes of the huge, ground shaking variety arriving with Ubuntu 15.10. If you can manage to scrape your jaw up off of the floor you’ll remember that, actually, this isn’t a surprise; Wily serves as another Ubuntu maintenance release in a long line of largely indistinguishable Ubuntu maintenance releases.

With Unity 8 and the march towards convergence this is, as it has been for the past three years, perfectly understandable. But it does mean that the Wily Werewolf sees Ubuntu undergo no major transformation. There’s no bone popping, shirt ripping or hair sprouting here; a new wallpaper and change in scollbar appearance is as metamorphic as this werewolf gets.

But that doesn’t mean it’s boring.

Unity 7.3.2

Ubuntu 15.10 is all about bug fixes, polish and small usability improvements to Unity. The former of these a teasing taste of a much bigger bug-fixing initiative due to take place ahead of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

The Unity desktop in Ubuntu 15.10 is updated to version 7.3.2 and features the following notable fixes:

  • Fix to stop it being possible to ‘shutdown’ computer when screen is locked
  • Fixes issue with maximised windows when clicking “show desktop”/”restore desktop” button
  • Active app icons now show unfolded when launcher accordion triggered
  • Fixes issues with ‘show desktop’ that caused window decoration for two windows of same app to vanish
  • Dash: Non-expandable category headers skipped in keyboard navigation
  • Dash: Non-expandable category headers are no longer highlighted on mouse over
  • New setting to control the show-now delay (when pressing Alt key)
  • Fixes a bug in earlier Wily builds where some app launcher icons were removed during an app upgrade
  • Logic tweak to stop adjacent menu opening when moving from an indicator icon to its menu

The well-worn Compiz window manager that drives the Unity desktop also benefits from a bunch of bug fixes. It also adds a few new options to power users, including an option to manually select the background color for the app switcher and static app switcher (assuming you don’t like the default).

New Default Wallpaper

The Ubuntu 15.10 Default Desktop Wallpaper

The only thing likely to leave long time users howling at the moon is the choice of default wallpaper which, rather like the OS, has undergone on the subtlest of transitions.

There are no currently no new ‘community contributed’ wallpapers to enjoy in this release. This is a slight surprise as the Ubuntu 15.10 wallpaper contest – renamed the ‘free culture showcase’ – attracted a modest 79 entries from roughly 40 participants.

Linux 4.2.1

Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 uses the 4.2.1 Linux kernel. This introduces hundreds of changes, the following highlights are particularly applicable to Ubuntu users:

  • Support for newer AMD GPUs
  • Further Intel Skylake CPU support
  • New drivers for Sensortek devices, e.g, accelerometers, ambient-light and proximity sensors
  • New drivers for various input devices, including recent Logitech mice

Linux Kernel 4.2 also includes less definable changes, e.g., bug fixes, performance tweaks for file systems, and performance  and power efficiency enhancements.

Persistent Network Interface Names

Network names are now persistent

If you’ve ever needed to get down and dirty with a network interface at the command line, through Conky or by way of a sensor applet, you’ll be familiar with the traditional way network interface names are assigned, e.g., ‘eth0’, ‘eth1’, ‘wlan0’, ‘wlan1’, etc.

These are assigned in an unpredictable and often unstable order on boot-up. Your super high-speed Wi-Fi dongle may be ‘wlan0’ on one boot, ‘wlan1’ on the next.

Ubuntu 15.10 introduces (by way of a udev update) stateless persistent network interface names. It’s a technical sounding change and one that, honestly, has little material significance to home users.

It allows interface names for network devices to be maintained across reboots, and even when network hardware is unplugged or removed entirely.

Stable interface names also persist after kernels or drivers are updated or changed. Best of all for network critical operations, the interface names are fully predictable and no longer assigned randomly.

Ubuntu Overlay Scrollbars

Unity overlay scrollbars have been dropped

The way scrolling behaves in some applications has changed in Wily.

Ubuntu’s own overlay scrollbars (see image comparison to the left) have been removed in favour of GNOME’s.

We lose a thumb but we don’t lose any functionality.

The GNOME overlay scrollbars have been themed to look more like the Ubuntu designed ones they replace.

Core Application Updates

As every release does, Ubuntu 15.10 features a batch of updates to its core application set, including:

  • Firefox 41
  • Chromium 44
  • Nautilus (aka ‘Files’) 3.14.2
  • Totem (aka ‘Videos’) 3.16
  • Rhythmbox 3.2.1
  • GNOME Terminal 3.16
  • Eye of GNOME 3.16
  • Empathy 3.12.10
  • Shotwell 0.22
Download Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Ubuntu beta releases are not suitable for anyone in need of a stable system or uncomfortable with potential bugs and package breakages.

To download Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 head over to the official ISO downloads page by hitting the button below.

Download Ubuntu 15.04 Beta 2

This post, Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 Arrives With Unity Fixes, App Updates, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Ubuntu 15.10 Flavors: Beta 2 Downloads Now Available

Thursday 24th of September 2015 11:10:37 PM

Arriving alongside the main Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 release are beta candidates for the rest of the Ubuntu family. 

The change logs on offer for these releases vary. Some spins pack more significant changes than others, but all releases feature a stack of app and package updates, the new Linux kernel 4.2, and benefit from improvements and bug fixes.

Kubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Kubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 is not too dissimilar to the first beta shipped last month. It offers the brand new Plasma 5.4 desktop environment, see our previous coverage for more details on all of the shiny stuff wrapped up in that, plus the latest point release of KDE Applications 15.08.

Download Kubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Lubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

If Ubuntu gets it in the neck for not evolving much while work on Unity 8 is on-going, spare a thought for fans of Lubuntu. The lightest Ubuntu distro has been in veritable stasis since 13.04, as work progresses on the new LxQt desktop environment.

The lack of major development in Lubuntu makes one of the changes arriving in this beta sound comparatively revolutionary:  Lubuntu 15.10 beta 2 removes the ‘extra sessions’ package.

This package provided users with bespoke shell tweaks, including a now archaic looking netbook UI and a stripped back gaming mode.

Fans of the extra session needn’t panic as it’s not gone entirely. If you liked what it offered you can it back easily. Just install ‘lubuntu-extra-sessions’ from the command line, log-out and everything will be as it was.

One package removal aside it is left to a few lonely bug fixes and theme tweaks to make up the bulk of this beta. The usual kernel, app and system updates provided by Ubuntu are also included.

Download Lubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Xubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Although not quite as quiet as Lubuntu, Xubuntu is also taking things a little easier this cycle. Ardent Xubuntites will spot the following changes:

  • Panel back-up/restore switch, with 5 preset panel layouts
  • Accessibility icons for the window manager
  • Bug fixes, including a resolution for webcam’s not initialising in Mugshot
  • App updates, including new versions of MenuLibre and Catfish

While these are no huge updates on their own they are ones that build nicely upon the app updates featured in August’s beta release.

Download Xubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 Beta 2

Fans of Ubuntu GNOME are in for a treat this October. The distribution is based on the GNOME 3.16 stack released in March, and makes full use of it, too.

GNOME Photos replaces the Shotwell photo manager. A not-too shocking decision given the aesthetic and system integration the former offers. Also installed by default is GNOME Music, an application we desperately want to love but can rarely get to work!

Bluez 5 handles bluetooth; there’s a new ‘getting started’ guide that runs on first login, and the Ubuntu Software Centre can now be used under the Adwaita Dark theme.

For those who like things of an experimental nature there’s also an entirely-optional (and potential buggy) wayland session available. The GNOME Wayland session will only work with open-source graphics drivers.

Download Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 Beta 2

Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Beta 2

The new Mate Welcome Screen

The most recent addition to the Ubuntu family is sporting the biggest changeset of them all.

Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Beta 2 completes the migration to the MATE 1.10 desktop (and includes most components). It also features improved bluetooth, a new community wallpaper and improves the new ‘MATE Welcome’ app.

The welcome app collates a bunch of useful information, including some neat app suggestions, all in once place.

It’s a great addition to the MATE desktop and should make using the distribution easier for new users — it may even teach experienced ones something new!

Download Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Beta 2

For a reminder of upcoming Ubuntu release dates refer to our handy infographic.

This post, Ubuntu 15.10 Flavors: Beta 2 Downloads Now Available, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Unity 8 Greeter Shows Ubuntu Convergence In Action

Wednesday 23rd of September 2015 04:35:03 PM

Unity 8 is Ubuntu’s next-gen …everything

A new video shows off yet more progress on getting Unity 8 ship-shape for desktop usage. 

This time it’s the Unity 8 Greeter – the screen you see when you log in – in the spotlight.

Canonical developer Joshua Arenson demos how seamless the Unity 8 Greeter currently works across devices with narrow, wide and full size displays.

But more interestingly than that is the technical hoopla happening in the background.

The Ubuntu Phone and Ubuntu tablet don’t use LightDM to power their log-in screens. Instead, they interact with PAM (Pluggable Authentication Module) directly. This is referred to as an ‘integrated lock-screen’ in Unity 8 speak.

On the desktop where Home folders are encrypted, and session switching and multi-user logins are a thing, a more capable greeter is needed. Something more like that which exists today.

So, in Unity 8 on a desktop, the same appears at log-in but is, in fact, linked to a proper LightDM session.

This means you will be able to use the Unity 8 Greeter to log in to Unity 7, KDE, Xfce, Pantheon, and so on.

The Unity 8 Greeter is even available to test on your 15.04 or 15.10 desktop today though a PPA – although this is not recommended and will likely break your ability to log in to anything!

Keep in mind that the Unity 8 Greeter seen below is a work in progress. The design, code, UX flow, etc shown off by Joshua is not final, lacks features and is subject to change.

This post, Unity 8 Greeter Shows Ubuntu Convergence In Action, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Firefox 41 Released With Built-In Instant Messenger

Wednesday 23rd of September 2015 12:30:10 PM

Mozilla has announced the release of Firefox 41.

With controversies surrounding previous builds now subsiding Mozilla is going a little easy on the lever. Firefox 41 features a modest batch made of mostly incremental changes.

Among them you’ll find:

  • Profile picture support for Firefox Accounts
  • Instant messaging to Firefox Hello
  • SVG favicon support
  • Box shadow rendering improvements

If you have a Firefox Account (used to sync bookmarks, preferences, etc) you can now set a profile picture for your account from the account management screen.

This picture will show up in several places, including the Firefox menu, and Firefox Hello chats.

Firefox Hello, the built-in WebRTC client, now supports instant messaging. Earlier versions of Firefox Hello only handled audio and video chats. WebRTC security has been toughened up in this release, too.

A full list of changes are detailed in the official Firefox 41 Release Notes. 

There are a few Linux specific bug fixes and tweaks worth a mention, including a fix for a font UI issue on Linux Mint; a patch for Pocket to stop its icon going missing; and HiDPI WebRTC notification icons (geolocation, microphone access, etc).

Download Firefox 41

Firefox 41 will find its way into the Ubuntu Update Manager on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 15.04 over the next 24 hours, so be sure to keep an eye out.

If you can’t wait to try it out you can, as always, download Firefox from the Mozilla website.

Download Mozilla Firefox for Linux

This post, Firefox 41 Released With Built-In Instant Messenger, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

These Are The Best New Features in GNOME 3.18

Wednesday 23rd of September 2015 09:30:46 AM

GNOME 3.18 is out and it’s a release packed full of new features, improvements and rounding off of once rough edges.

Work on the release has been on going for the past six months, and the final release comprising the GNOME software stacks, GNOME Shell and a suite of core apps is available to download as source from today.

Major Linux distributions,  Fedora, Debian and Arch, will make GNOME 3.18 available to install over the coming weeks or through future distro updates.

Top GNOME 3.18 Features & Changes

GNOME 3.18 features both big and small changes and is (seemingly once again) made up of 25,112 changes contributed by over 700 developers.

Although some of the new features may sound minor in isolation they add up to an impressive collective; this is yet another release of GNOME that keeps the Linux desktop moving forward and brings its users with it.

But enough of the gumph. Let’s take a look at the new features and changes we think you’re going to love most. And we’ll kick off with a recap of one we wrote about recently.

Google Drive Integration

As ‘fessed up Google fans we’re pretty pleased that GNOME 3.18 now makes it possible to access Google Drive directly from the Files application and file picker dialogs.

Short of Google ever actually offered a dedicated Linux client this is the next best thing.

Setting up Google Drive in GNOME 3.18 has been made easy as pie, too. You add your Google account in Settings > Online Accounts and, err, that’s it! Google Drive shows up as a network share in the Files app sidebar.

“[Google Drive in GNOME 3.18] behaves very similarly to the rest of your files and folders: files can be opened using your normal applications, and folders can be created just like regular folders. It is also really easy to upload files to Google Drive — all you have to do is move or copy them across,” GNOME say of the feature.

File Manager Improvements

It’s easier to keep track of file progress operations in GNOME 3.18

File manager improvements don’t stop at the integration of a singular, if popular, cloud service. Oh no: GNOME has made a bunch of improvements to the way the file manager looks and behaves, including:

  • Other locations‘ option added to Files sidebar to group network/remote shares
  • File copy/moving progress is now displayed in new header bar button (see image)
  • Folder/file renaming/creation now uses pop over dialogs
  • Open/Save dialog now supports search
  • Right-click/context menus are now accessible on touchscreen using long-press
  • Prominent bookmark creation target shown when dragging files/folders
  • Recursive search automatically disabled when searching remote locations
  • Recent files lists now show the full location of each file
Automatic Screen Brightness

Do you use GNOME on a laptop or all-in-one that has an integrated light sensor?

If so, you’ll be pleased to know that GNOME is now able to use it to automatically control screen brightness.

This help ensure that the screen is always easy to see, but also helps to lower the amount of battery used to power it.
Better Touch Screen Support

Do you use GNOME on a laptop or tablet with a multi-touch display?

If so, you’ll be pleased to know that manipulating on-screen text is made easier in GNOME 3.18.

You can select, cut, copy and paste text with more finesse thanks to larger text selection handles and new popover menus offering common text editing actions. 

Firmware Updates Made Easy

Updating Firmware The Easy Way

When did you last update your computer’s BIOS, or the firmware for an exotic peripheral hooked up by USB? Heck, do you even know how to install such updates?

GNOME 3.18 introduces a new way to update device software easier through integration with the Linux Vendor Firmware Service.

This project offers a way for hardware manufacturers to distribute firmware updates to Linux users. GNOME supports the service fully, and lets device hardware updates to be installed the same time as regular software updates.

Since the feature relies on the Software app (a de-centralised app store of sorts) and neither Ubuntu or Ubuntu GNOME offer it, you shouldn’t expect this nifty new feature to work in Ubuntu.

New GNOME Calendar Application

The new GNOME Calendar app

Calendar, the GNOME desktop calendar app (quelle surprise), is finally ready to make a date with your desktop. in 3.18.

The app was introduced in preview form during the 3.16 release and is a straightforward desktop calendaring tool that integrates fully with GNOME Online Accounts.

It allows you to switch between month and year views, add, edit and search events, import calendars from online services and view events in list form.

New Emoji Picker App

Pick an emoji (or any other character)

Alright, so the new characters application (called ‘Characters’) is not strictly an emoji picker, but let’s face it: it’s what most of us will use it for!

Characters promises to offer ‘an easy way to find and use a variety of characters’. It groups characters by category (e.g., punctuation, pictures, etc) for easy browsing. Like emoji pickers on smartphones GNOME Characters helpfully remembers your most recently used characters.

Other features include search (through the Activities Overview) and locale-specific characters based on the system input language.

Meet GNOME To Do

New in GNOME: A To Do App

Arriving as a preview in GNOME 3.18 is the new app ‘To Do’.

To Do is described as ‘simple personal task manager’. It lets you add tasks, group tasks and even colour-code them. Clicking on a task opens side pane where you can add notes and set schedules or due dates.

A helpful ‘Today’ view makes keeping on top of things easier, too.

GNOME Wayland Progress

The GNOME experience on Wayland gets better and better with each release, and 3.18 proves to be no exception.

GNOME System Menu

GNOME on Wayland now has support for HiDPI displays and adds the ability to copy/paste and drag/drop between windows and, more impressively, between Wayland and legacy X11 apps!

Other Notable Changes:
  • System Status Menu has been refined (again)
  • Bluetooth sharing is now accessible through Bluetooth settings
  • GNOME Maps can indicate direction; now supports lat/long coordinates.
  • GNOME Music supports scrobbling
  • Auto-scrolling enabled
  • New ‘first run’ experience in Polari IRC client
Install GNOME 3.18 on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 15.10, due for release next month, includes GNOME 3.16 and not GNOME 3.18.

But don’t fret.

The semi-unofficial and totally unsupported GNOME 3 staging and testing PPAs available to Ubuntu users should provide a stack of GNOME 3.18 packages to 15.10 users in due course.

We’ll provide more information on how to add them, bugs and issues, etc. after the launch of Ubuntu 15.10. In the mean time, if you’d like to use the March release of GNOME 3.16 on Ubuntu 15.04 you can follow this step-by-step guide.

Try GNOME 3.18 For Yourself

If you don’t want to wait you don’t have to. If you have a spare USB drive or blank disc lying around you will shortly be able to download a live image based on OpenSUSE to try the new features out for yourself. Bookmark the link now.

Download GNOME Promo Live Image

This post, These Are The Best New Features in GNOME 3.18, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Meet The New Ubuntu 15.10 Default Wallpaper

Friday 18th of September 2015 11:44:33 AM

The brand new default wallpaper for Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf has been unveiled. 

Look back at every Ubuntu default wallpaper — from 4.10 to 15.10

At first glance you may find little has changed from the origami-inspired ‘Suru’ design shipped with April’s release of Ubuntu 15.04. But look closer and you’ll see that the new default background does feature some subtle differences.

For one it looks much lighter, helped by an orange glow emanating from the upper-left of the image. The angular folds and sections remain, but with the addition of blocky, rectangular sections.

The new background has been designed by Canonical Design Team member Alex Milazzo.

The Ubuntu 15.10 default desktop wallpaper

And just to show that there is a change, here is the Ubuntu 15.04 default wallpaper for comparison:

The Ubuntu 15.04 default desktop wallpaper

Download Ubuntu 15.10 Wallpaper

If you’re running daily builds of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf and don’t yet see this as your default wallpaper you’ve no broken anything: the design has been unveiled but is, as of writing, yet to be packaged and uploaded to Wily itself.

You don’t have to wait until October to use the new design as your desktop background. You can download the wallpaper in a huge HiDPI display friendly 4096×2304 resolution by hitting the button below.

Download Ubuntu the new 15.10 Default Wallpaper

Finally, as we say this every time there’s a new wallpaper, you don’t have to care about the minutiae of distribution branding and design. If the new wallpaper is not to your tastes or you never keep it you can, as ever, easily change it — this isn’t the Ubuntu Phone after all!

Are you a fan of the refreshed look? Let us know in the comments below. 

This post, Meet The New Ubuntu 15.10 Default Wallpaper, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

New Ubuntu Store Makes It Easier to Buy Ubuntu Laptops, PCs and Phones

Thursday 17th of September 2015 02:26:07 PM

Snapdeal is India’s biggest retailer

It just got even easier to buy Ubuntu laptops, desktops and phones from India’s biggest online retailer.

Canonical has opened a brand new “brand store” for Ubuntu products on Snapdeal, who are the exclusive stockists of the Bq Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition and E5 Ubuntu Edition smartphones in India.

The Snapdeal Ubuntu Store groups together Ubuntu powered notebooks and desktop PCs from HP and Dell, and promotes them alongside the newly launched Ubuntu Phones from Bq.

Ubuntu joins thousands of other companies, among them Samsung, Apple and Dell, in creating a custom storefront to sell their products through.

Brand stores allow companies to group their products into one easily accessible place, use custom branding, a Snapdeal sub-domain and integrate their social media accounts to drive engagement.

In launching an Ubuntu Store on Snapdeal Canonical not only makes it easier for Ubuntu enthusiasts in India to see, compare and buy Ubuntu laptops and PCs, but makes it easier for its hardware partners to their promote devices to potential customers.

This is not the first time Canonical has teamed up with an online retailer to promote Ubuntu powered devices. Last year UK retailer eBuyer launched a line of budget HP laptops running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Prices of devices

The world’s favorite OS:  A hero banner on the Ubuntu Store on Snapdeal

A wide selection of devices with Ubuntu preinstalled are available on Snapdeal though it should be noted that not all products are fulfilled by Snapdeal.

Those looking for an Ubuntu laptop on a budget there’s the Dell Vostro 15 3558. This is a 15-inch laptop powered by an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB RAM and comes with a 500GB mechanical hard-drive. It has a 3 hour battery life and costs Rs 19,989 (~$300 US).

For something more powerful the store offers the HP 2311ix. This is a 20-inch all-in-one PC featuring a 4th Gen Core i3, 4GB RAM and a roomy 500GB HDD. It is the most expensive device sold through the Snapdeal Ubuntu Store and costs Rs 54,156 (~$800 US).

The cheapest Ubuntu Phone is the Bq Aquaris E4.5, a low-end 4.5-inch handset running Ubuntu Touch with 8GB of storage. It costs from Rs 11,499.

The Store offers Ubuntu Phones, PCs & Desktops

The move is a positive one for Canonical, for Ubuntu, for its OEM partners and for users.

OEMs have been shy about promoting their Ubuntu-powered devices in Europe (let’s not mention the Ubuntu billboard contest that wasn’t). This is less of a problem in India (and China), where Ubuntu laptops from Dell and HP are readily available and often aggressively promoted. 

Launching a branded store front on one of India’s biggest online retailers is a smart move. It will help promote Ubuntu as a first-class OS, make it easier for buyers to find devices, and increase sales for OEMs.

Check out the store for yourself at the link below.

Visit the Ubuntu Store on Snapdeal

This post, New Ubuntu Store Makes It Easier to Buy Ubuntu Laptops, PCs and Phones, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Intel Graphics Installer for Linux Adds Support for Ubuntu 15.04

Wednesday 16th of September 2015 04:57:31 PM

A new release of the Intel Graphics Installer for Linux is now available for download.

The tool, made by the Intel Open-Source Group, gives Linux users an easy way to install the latest Intel graphics drivers on Ubuntu and other supported Linux distributions.

Intel say using the tool to install the latest Intel Graphics Stack helps “ensure the best user experience with your Intel graphics hardware”.

Earlier versions of the tool were blighted by issues that often hosed entire systems. So, starting last year, Intel no longer upgrades the xserver-xorg package on Ubuntu or Fedora desktops.

Intel Graphics Installer 1.2.0 Now Supports Vivid

Graphics, yo.

Version 1.2.0 of the Intel Graphics Installer adds support for Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet and drops support for Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn.

And when we say it ‘drops support’ we really do mean it. Unlike previous releases, where  older versions were moved into a semi-supported ‘deprecated’ status, Intel say this tool will ‘not function correctly’ on Utopic Unicorn desktops.

But if you’re running Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet you can make full use of the tool and upgrade to the very latest Intel Graphics Stack.

Intel Graphics Stack 2015Q2

The Intel Graphics Stack 2015Q2 contains (as always) a massive set of bug fixes, feature enhancements and general improvements to the standard Intel Linux 2D and 3D drivers.

Among them:

  • Broadwell and CherryView CPU support now stable
  • Write-combine CPU memory support
  • Dual-link DSI support
  • Faster GPU progress tracking
  • Improved Engine initialisation code
  • On going Skylake preparation
  • VP9 decoding support (Intel-vaapi-driver)
  • HEVC encoding support (Intel-vaapi-driver)

To download the installer, find a list of supported hardware, or for links to further information on this release, head over to the Intel Open Source Group project website.

Download Intel Graphics Installer for Linux 1.2.0

This post, Intel Graphics Installer for Linux Adds Support for Ubuntu 15.04, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Fairphone ‘Exploring’ Switch to Ubuntu Touch

Wednesday 16th of September 2015 04:14:37 PM

Image: Fairphone

Ethical smartphone makers Fairphone are ‘exploring the possibility’ of switching to Ubuntu Touch. 

The company says a “major concern” of existing Fairphone is having a long-lasting phone whose software isn’t left in the dust.

This need was laid stark by the Stagefright Android vulnerability uncovered earlier this year. Dubbed the ‘heart bleed of mobile’, the flaw affected thousands of Android handsets, most of which no longer receive software support from their manufacturers.

The Fairphone 1 was among the handsets affected. A phone with a gaping security hole is not a great way to promote the idea of device longevity.

For Fairphone fixing the vulnerability was a priority – but one that was far from easy to achieve. A tangle of licensing, vendor and partner restrictions required them to jump through hoops to get the requisite access needed to fix Stagefright and roll the bandaid out in an update.

That arduous process has left the company keen to truly make good on its promise of improving device lifespans, both in the medium and long-term.

It intends to keep support going for the Android based Fairphone 1, ‘dependent on cooperation from license holders and our own resources’.

But looking ahead at ways it can keep its phones stable and secure? Well, that may not involve sticking with Android at all:

“We are exploring is the possibility of replacing the Android software by alternative operating systems (Ubuntu/Firefox/Jolla) in an effort to prolong the life of the device (as that software is more cost-effective to maintain).”

Don’t get too excited if you own a Fairphone. as the company cautions that plans are “still in the exploratory phases”. They must be hoping that in starting a discussion publicly they are able to demonstrate that when they say they plan to support their phones for the long-term they really do mean it.

More than 60,000 Fairphone 1’s have been sold worldwide to date, with pre-orders of the Fairphone 2 now clocking past the 11,000 mark.

Fairphone opting to switch to Ubuntu would not only help bump up Ubuntu Phone’s user base significantly but  help make it a compelling play to anyone looking for a truly dependable long-term support smartphone. 

H/t Alan Pope

This post, Fairphone ‘Exploring’ Switch to Ubuntu Touch, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

How To Watch Hulu on Ubuntu 14.04 and Up

Sunday 13th of September 2015 03:40:40 PM

Want to know how to watch Hulu on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and up? 

Well, we’re going to show you.

The American streaming service Hulu uses Adobe Flash to play back video in the browser, and uses Adobe Flash DRM to encrypt it.

Adobe Flash DRM uses a library called HAL (‘Hardware Abstraction Layer’) to identify your computer and fetch a token to ‘allow’ playback.

The problem? Ubuntu no longer includes HAL by default, nor is it available to install from the Ubuntu Archive. Sites that use Flash DRM (or any other technology that relies on HAL) therefore don’t work on Ubuntu out of the box.

This article is not a treatise on DRM or Adobe Flash. It’s a tutorial to let those who want to watch Hulu on Ubuntu do so.

This means if you want to watch Hulu on Ubuntu, as well as other sites that use Flash DRM like Amazon Instant video, you will need to install the HAL library from a third-party PPA.

Install HAL on Ubuntu To Watch Hulu & Amazon Instant

We’re going to walk you through adding Martin Wimpress’ HAL-flash PPA and not the more commonly suggested zombie HAL repository that is maintained by Michael Blennerhassett.


In short because a full-fat, fully functional HAL layer is not needed in Ubuntu (nor most modern Linux distributions). The smaller Hal-flash package provides you with everything you need to play Flash DRM content on Ubuntu and without the overhead (read: cruft) installed with the full Hal library set.

1. Add the Ubuntu Hal PPA

The cleanest way to install HAL on Ubuntu is through a third-party repository or personal package archive (PPA). And the fastest way to add a PPA is using the Terminal.

If using the command line is too intimidating a task you can do it the GUI way (though if you’re scared by the command line you probably shouldn’t be adding libraries from third-party PPAs).

Copy and paste the following command into the terminal, and enter your user password when prompted:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:flexiondotorg/hal-flash

When complete, move on to the next step.

2. Install HAL

Having added the PPA you now need to install HAL. We will use the Terminal to do this:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libhal1-flash

Allow the process to fully complete. Then reboot your system. This is not strictly necessary but is advised to ensure that browser and plugin processes quit correctly.

3. Watch Hulu on Ubuntu

With Hal installed all that’s left to do is watch some content! Open the Hulu website in your browser, log in with your account details and select a TV show or movie to stream.

Note: as I am in the UK I am unable to test hal-flash with Hulu personally but I am told this should work. 

This post, How To Watch Hulu on Ubuntu 14.04 and Up, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

See Live Cricket Scores on Ubuntu With This Free Tool

Thursday 10th of September 2015 07:34:23 PM

Do you want to keep an eye on the latest cricket scores but don’t want to use a web browser to do it?

Check out a new Indicator Applet called Cricket Score Indicator. It’s a small panel-based menu that serves up the latest live cricket scores straight to your desktop.

Cricket Indicator: A ‘Perfect Companion’

Reader Nigel Byou, who tipped us to Cricket Score Indicator, describes it as ‘the perfect companion for cricket-mad Linux lovers’ like himself.

I’ll take Nigel’s word because, as you’ll gather from the lack of cricket puns in this copy, I’m not a particularly big cricket fan myself!

Despite my own sport malaise the add-on will let those of you who are interested in cricket easily stay on top of the latest cricket scores without needing to constantly check a website, install a mobile app or keep a radio station playing in the background.

You get the latest cricket scores live, as they happen, right on the Ubuntu desktop.

How It Works

Once installed and running the indicator will automatically fetch and display live cricket scores using data scraped from the popular ESPNcricinfo service.

It lets you select one match to show directly in the desktop panel, meaning you won’t even need to click on the indicator menu to check the score.

Inside the indicator menu is a list of all matches that are currently in play. Mouse over any match listed to see an up-to-date scorecard for it, data for which is downloaded on-demand to limit network usage.

Click the checkbox next to a match to embed its score in the desktop panel.

Full feature list:

  • Real-time updates fetched from ESPNcricinfo
  • See current match score directly in panel
  • Match scorecards available in sub-menus
  • International, domestic and county matches covered
  • Displays the runs scored on the last delivery of selected match
Install Cricket Score Indicator on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS +

Cricket Score Indicator is free, open-source and easy to install on Ubuntu and other Debian-based distributions.

If you’re on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or later you can install the tool from the official project PPA* by running the following terminal commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:rawcoder/cricket-score-indicator sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install cricket-score-indicator

With installation complete, launch the indicator from the Unity Dash by searching for ‘cricket’ or looking for a batsman icon.

GNOME-Shell users can also run this tool but will need to install the free ‘AppIndicator Support’ extension from the GNOME Shell extensions website first.

Install AppIndicator Support from GNOME Extensions

*To preempt the usual discussion about the pros/cons of the PPA system remember that there is no longer a way for non-archive software to be distributed through the Ubuntu Software Centre, while paid apps are only available on 14.04 LTS. The App Review board has been retired. PPAs are a useful way for devs and users to get updates for software. As always, PPAs are entirely optional. 

This post, See Live Cricket Scores on Ubuntu With This Free Tool, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Do You Plan To Buy An Ubuntu Phone?

Tuesday 8th of September 2015 08:30:37 PM

This week two Ubuntu Phones went on sale in India through online retailer Snapdeal, priced from 11,999 ($180). 

Three Ubuntu Phones are now available to buy in mainland Europe, China and the United States — Russian readers be on the look out later this month — meaning a siezable chunk of people reading this post will, should they fancy, be able to buy one.

They’re here, but are you interested?

And with plenty of reviews and critiques of the three devices available online most buyers should now have enough background info to help inform any potential purchase.

Which leads up to this poll: we want to know what your plans are.

  • Do you plan to buy an Ubuntu Phone?
  • Do you already own one of the Bq or Meizu devices?
  • Are you’re waiting for something ‘better’ to be released?

To remind you, these are official Ubuntu Phone devices released so far:

  • Bq Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition 4.5-inch screen, quad-core MediaTek processor and 8GB storage.
  • Bq Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Edition — 5-inch HD display, 16GB of internal storage and 13MP camera.
  • Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition — 8-core processor, vivid display, 2GB RAM and fantastic cameras.

If none of those float your boat there is an upcoming device from Bq (codename ‘namek’) to get excited about. This smartphone will transform from a smartphone to a low-power desktop PC when attached to a tangle of wires. Like Windows 10 for Mobile, this portable desktop PC should be ideal for basic web-browsing and running a stack of Ubuntu Phone’s web-apps.

Whatever your intentions are, we’d love to know them! Pick your preference in the poll below and feel free to share your reasons for why or why not in the comments.

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;;pd.src='';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

This post, Do You Plan To Buy An Ubuntu Phone?, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

GNOME 3.18 Will Let You Access Your Google Drive Files in Nautilus

Tuesday 8th of September 2015 03:30:23 PM

There’s no official Google Drive client for Linux

GNOME 3.18 is to introduce native support for Google Drive in the GNOME file manager. 

But before you get too excited there are caveats.

The feature won’t function as a true desktop Linux client for Google’s online cloud storage service and you will need to be online to access cloud files.

How will it work? Let’s take a look.

Using Google Drive in GNOME 3.18

Google is yet to provide an official Linux client for the service. And despite rumours to the contrary, we’ve heard nothing to suggest this will change soon. It is left to third party developers to plug the gap for those who love Google Drive but happen to use Linux.

First up: the kicker.

GNOME’s plans for Google Drive integration in Nautilus won’t enable you to ‘sync’ files or folders for offline use, at least not yet. It won’t offers the sorts of features found in Dropbox, Copy or any other cloud back-up service that offers a native Linux desktop client.

‘You will be able to upload files to Google Drive using Nautilus’

Instead, Google Drive will be loaded in the Nautilus sidebar as a remote filesystem. This will be automatic when you add a Google account to GNOME Online Accounts.

This folder will work like any other remote file system does (i.e. online) and your files will load as they would in a local folder (yes, thumbnails included).

You will be able to upload files to Google Drive by dragging or pasting items into this remote folder. Work on folder creation is underway.

Files will open directly in native desktop apps (e.g., PDFs open in GNOME Documents, images in Eye of GNOME, audio files in Totem, etc) without the need to manually download them first.

‘Google Drive files will even open in native desktop apps’

For Google-specific files, or files which no native app has support, GNOME will helpfully open it in a web browser.

The feature uses the Google Drive API v2.

Although not a perfect solution it is a welcome one.

This feature is unlikely to tempt Dropbox users away from the comfort of their official client but for those of us who use Google Drive — I have 1TB of space so I take full advantage — it is sure to make accessing and managing files easier (and saves the need for PPAs, scripts and buggy software).

GNOME 3.18 Is Released This Month

Excited? This is just one of many awesome improvements heading to the desktop with the release of GNOME 3.18 later this month.

Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 users should be able to upgrade to GNOME 3.18 using the semi-official, but entirely unsupported, GNOME 3 testing PPA shortly after its release in October.

Please note that while this feature is currently planned for inclusion in GNOME 3.18 it is not guaranteed to arrive with it.  Furthermore, as mentioned, but worth emphasising to stave disappointment, this feature won’t let you automatically “sync” files offline. 

This post, GNOME 3.18 Will Let You Access Your Google Drive Files in Nautilus, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Ubuntu Convergence Demo: X Apps Running on Mir Display Server

Monday 7th of September 2015 06:14:57 PM

Desktop users will want to run more than Ubuntu Phone apps

Wondering how legacy X apps will look running on Mir, Ubuntu’s next-gen display server?

Well, wonder no more.

In the video below, shared by Ubuntu developers earlier today, we see Mozilla Firefox, GNOME’s erstwhile text-editor Gedit and an impressive test with a popular OpenGL aquarium all running on the Mir display server in a Unity 8 session.

Everything runs amazingly normal which is an amazing technical feat.

The video was filmed by Canonical at a recent developer sprint. The video was distributed internally to better demonstrate the progress made on the compatability layer for Mir.

It has been shared publically to show off how what is arguably the most critical user-facing component of Mir: the ability to run well known apps that aren’t made in toolkits that don’t natively support the new-fangled display server.

We’ve seen countless examples of mobile apps running on Mir in a Unity 8 session as well as a few glimpses of how the Unity 8 will look ‘as a desktop’.

But as ‘neat’ as being able to launch an mobile apps on a desktop is, and as elegant as responsive mobile app design lets some of those apps be, if i’m working desktop-style I’m more likely to want to use proper desktop software, such as Firefox, GIMP and Steam.

Seeing Firefox demoed in the video above, and glimpsing GIMP, XChat and a few other familiar desktop apps in the Apps Scope, is reassuring.

This post, Ubuntu Convergence Demo: X Apps Running on Mir Display Server, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

Ubuntu Phone Is Now Available To Buy In India

Monday 7th of September 2015 01:05:58 PM

You can now buy the Ubuntu Phone in India.

Retail giant Snapdeal is selling two Ubuntu Phones made by Bq Readers through its website. It is the first major international retailer to stock the Ubuntu Phone. 

The two handsets aren’t new, and have been available to buy in Europe for several months:

  • Bq Aquaris E4.5 – MSRP ₹11,999
  • Bq Aquaris E5 – MSRP ₹13,999

Bq already ships its devices internationally, including to mainland Europe and the US (though bandwidth issues in the US means there’s little incentive as the phones only operate on 2G). The company also plan to begin shipping to Russia later this month.

Snapdeal sell a 4G Android 5.1 phone for only Rs 4,999 ($75)

Both Ubuntu phones are comparatively under powered when viewed against newer, often cheaper, mid-range Android phones. You can, for example, buy a Moto G 3rd Gen on Snapdeal for Rs 13,999, an ASUS Zen 5 for Rs 10,499 or nab a dual-sim, 4G-equipped ‘Yu Yunique’ running Android 5.1 for Rs 4,999 (roughly $75).

But regardless of the value for money on paper, both of these Bq phones handle the Ubuntu Phone OS well enough for texting, calls and basic web-browsing. There’s a small but growing set of native apps available on the Ubuntu store, plus hundreds of web bookmarks and scopes.


The Bq Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Edition went on sale in Europe back in June and features a bigger screen, more storage and better cameras than the smaller E4.5 — but both phones have the same core hardware specifications.

Aquaris E5
  • 5-inch IPS screen (1280 x 720 pixels, 294 ppi)
  • MediaTek MT6582 CPU @ 1.3 GHz (quad-core)
  • 16GB eMMC storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing
  • 2500 mAh battery
Aquaris E4.5
  • 4.5-inch IPS screen (540×960, 240 ppi)
  • MediaTek MT6582 CPU @ 1.3GHz (quad-core)
  • 8GB eMMC Storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8 MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing
  • 2150 mAh battery

Unlike the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Phone which is stuck at 16GB storage, both the Bq devices have an SD card slot to allow you to expand storage.

Ubuntu Phone, India Style

The phone experience is customised, with Indian-specific news and entertainment content in the Today, News and Music scopes.

There’s also a Bollywood Scope (pictured below) pre-installed, plus scopes for Indian news services NDTV and TOI. Canonical hope to find more sources over time to ‘further develop’ the content experience for India buyers.

As a primarily a web-centric phone OS built around web-apps and Scopes that pull data from online sources, the Ubuntu Phone works best with strong 3G coverage and a good data plan and/or a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Buy Bq Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Phone (Black, 16GB) on Snapdeal

Buy Bq Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone (8GB, Black) on Snapdeal

Ubuntu Phone India FAQ Where Can I Buy It?

Online retailer Snapdeal stocks both of the Bq Aquaris Ubuntu devices directly through their website. There are no flash sale or invite gimmicks.

How Much Does the Ubuntu Phone Cost?

It depends on which handset you buy.

The 5-inch, 16GB Bq Aquaris E5 costs from MSRP ₹13,999 (excluding shipping or other fees).

The 4.5-inch, 8GB Bq Aquaris E4.5 costs from MSRP ₹11, 999 (excluding shipping or other fees).

These are Android Phones, right? Can I Flash Android to the Ubuntu version?

Yes. Bq devices are easy to unlock and since hardware is identical on the Ubuntu and Android editions you can able “flash” an Android recovery image to your device. You won’t be able to see the Android navigation keys on the lower bezel of the handset, but they will work when pressed.

If attempting this do be aware that you may brick your device and flashing may fall outside of any warranty you may have.

This post, Ubuntu Phone Is Now Available To Buy In India, was written by Joey-Elijah Sneddon and first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

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Data indicates that Android picked up global market share from iOS last month

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RapidDisk / RapidCache 3.4 now available.

RapidDisk is an advanced Linux RAM Disk which consists of a collection of modules and an administration tool. Features include: Dynamically allocate RAM as block device. Use them as stand alone disk drives or even map them as caching nodes to slower local disk drives. I pushed 3.4 into the mainline earlier this morning. Changes include:
  • Added ability to autoload RapidDisk volumes during module insertion.
  • Fixed bug in RapidDisk (volatile) volume size definition across 32 to 64 bit types.
  • Making use of BIT() macro in the driver.
  • Removed RapidDisk-NV support. It was redundant with the recently kernel integrated pmem code.
You can pull it from the git, yum, ZYpp & apt repos or download it from the SourceForge project page. To stay updated, you can follow the RapidDisk Google+ page.