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Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews
Updated: 1 hour 26 min ago

Opera Developer 30 Adds 32bit Linux Builds

Wednesday 15th of April 2015 04:04:00 PM
Quick update: the Opera developers have started providing 32bit Linux binaries with the latest Opera developer 30.

Opera stopped updating its Linux browser for about a year, until June 2014 when Opera 24 was released on the Developer stream, followed by the stable Opera 26 release. But all those builds were for 64bit - until today, when the developers have started providing a 32bit Linux version of Opera developer 30.
While officially there are only deb packages available for download, you can use Opera on any Linux distro by following THESE instructions (see the featured comment).
Download Opera developer 32bit deb
Tip: for how to get Flash and H.264 to work in Opera, see THIS article.
via Opera desktop blog

Xubuntu 15.10 To Drop GIMP, Abiword And Gnumeric, Ship With LibreOffice (Or Parts Of It) By Default

Wednesday 15th of April 2015 02:25:00 PM

A week ago, the Xubuntu team members were asked to vote if Xubuntu 15.10 should drop GIMP, Abiword and Gnumeric and include LibreOffice by default.
The vote expired yesterday and Simon Steinbeiß, the Xubuntu Project Lead, announced the vote results, which are as follows:
  • GIMP will be dropped;
  • Abiword will be dropped;
  • LibreOffice or parts of it will be installed by default.
This doesn't mean you can't use GIMP, Abiword or Gnumeric - they will continue to be available in the repositories so you can install them via Ubuntu Software Center.
Among the reasons of shipping Xubuntu 15.10 without GIMP is that the app takes a lot of space on the ISO and it has "a lot of features that the average user probably doesn't need", mentioned Simon Steinbeiß in a message on the Xubuntu Devel mailing list. He also pointed out that there's "no obvious or natural replacement for it", and as a result, Xubuntu 15.10 won't include any image editing software by default.
As for Abiword, according to Sean Davis, Xubuntu Technical Lead, the main reasons behind this decision are "Abiword's bugs and constant theming issues".

These changes will only affect Xubuntu 15.10 and the default applications list will likely be revisited for Xubuntu 16.04 LTS.

Plank 0.9.0 Released With Window Dodge Hide Mode

Tuesday 14th of April 2015 01:46:00 PM
Plank is a simple, lightweight dock written in Vala. The application, which is available by default in elementary OS, features multiple hide modes, customizable screen position, theme and icon size, supports pinning apps to the dock, quicklists and more.

Plank 0.9.0 as released a couple of days ago, bringing new features and bug fixes, such as:
  • animated adding and removing items;
  • added Window Dodge hide mode (the dock will hide if it obstructs any window);
  • it's now possible to set a hide delay;
  • Plank now provides a simple dbus-interface with some methods for remote-controlling;
  • add support for loading icons with "resource://"-uris;
  • fixed rearranging icons with gtk >= 3.14;
  • more.

For the complete Plank 0.9.0 changelog, see THIS page.
It's also worth mentioning that Plank was added to the official Ubuntu (and Debian experimental) repositories with the latest Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet (to be released later this month).

While Unity users already have a dock available by default (the Unity Launcher), Plank can be a useful addition to quite a few desktop environments like MATE and Xfce - especially if you use a global menu on the top MATE or Xfce panel -, GNOME (Shell) and so on.

Install Plank 0.9.0
elementary OS Freya, released a few days ago, ships with Plank 0.8.0 however, the latest Plank 0.9.0 should already be available as an update. Note that the new 'Window Dodge' hide mode is not displayed in the elementary OS System Settings yet.
To install Plank in Ubuntu-based Linux distributions and flavors (Xubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, etc.) from its stable PPA, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:docky-core/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install plankFor faster but less stable Plank updates, you can use its official Testing PPA.

Report any bugs you may encounter @ Launchpad.

Tune Up elementary OS 0.3 Freya With `elementary Tweaks`

Tuesday 14th of April 2015 11:26:00 AM
elementary Tweaks is a tool especially created for elementary OS, which allows adjusting various "hidden" settings, such as changing the themes and fonts, accessing various Plank or Files settings and much more.

From elementary Tweaks, users can access the following settings:
  • Appearance: change the window, GTK, icon and cursor themes, change the window buttons layout;
  • change fonts;
  • disable animations or change various animations duration;
  • change focused/unfocused window shadows;
  • Plank: change the dock's screen position, alignment, theme, hide delay and hide mode, icon size, enable Plank for the current workspace only, lock items and more;
  • Files: disable single click, change date format and sidebar icon size;
  • Slingshot: change the number of rows and columns;
  • add/remove Cerbere watched processes (Cerbere monitors a predefined list of processes and relaunches them if they end);
  • Terminal: change opacity and color scheme;
  • more.

Since elementary Tweaks is available as a Switchboard plug (System Settings), it doesn't show up in the menu and instead, you'll find it in System Settings > Tweaks:

I'm sure many of you are already familiar with elementary Tweaks but with the elementary OS 0.3 Freya release, the distro will get many new users which will look for ways to change the themes, move the dock or change the window buttons layout and they might not know about this small but very useful tool.

Install elementary Tweaks in elementary OS 0.3 Freya
To add the elementary Tweaks PPA and install the app in elementary OS Freya, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-tweaksReport any bugs you may find @ Launchpad.


elementary OS Freya Available For Download, See What`s New [Video, Screenshots]

Saturday 11th of April 2015 04:33:00 PM
After more than a year and a half of development, elementary OS 0.3 "Freya" has been released, bringing three new default apps, a new notification system, a redesigned multitasking view, UEFI/SecureBoot support along with many other improvements and over 1,100 bug fixes.

For those not familiar with elementary OS, this is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution (with Freya being based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, supported until April 2019) which ships with its own desktop environment, called Pantheon, and its own custom application for the most part, which look great, integrate very well with the desktop and ship with sane defaults so the user doesn't have to tweak anything.
According to the elementary OS press release, the previous version, Luna, was downloaded over 3 million times, being one of the top 10 most popular distros.

elementary OS Freya video
Since elementary's strongest asset is its design (along with its simplicity of use), a video is a must and in the video below you can see what's new in the latest elementary OS Freya along with a quick overview of the whole desktop and its apps:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel!)

With elementary OS Freya, Pantheon, the default desktop environment, provides a redesigned multitasking view which now includes both the workspace switcher and scale features in one view (with scale still being available separately, via Super + W):

To make this feature more discoverable, a shortcut was added to Plank (the dock):

Slingshot, the default elementary OS application menu, was updated with new features like quicklists support, drag'n'drop from search and also, it can now perform quick math calculations:

One of the most important new features added with elementary OS Freya is a new notification system, specially created for the Pantheon desktop. The notifications are interactive and can be dismissed and there's a new settings pane which provides a "Do not disturb" mode for completely turning off the notifications, as well as per-app notification settings, where you can enable or disable the notification bubbles and sounds:

And speaking of System Settings, two new features were added to the Security & Privacy pane: a "Privacy Mode", which disables logging any file/app usage data, and a firewall tool:

Furthermore, the Displays, User Accounts, Applications and Date & Time settings panes were redesigned:

As for the artwork, the beautiful GTK and icon themes have been updated and they include changes like refreshed icons, a dark stylesheet for apps, rounded corners on menus and dialogs and more.
"[...] Freya also shakes off some of the trends of the early 2010s like high gloss and embraces a more matte look while preserving and enhancing our use of light and shadow", said Daniel Foré, founder and lead designer of elementary.
Other changes include:
  • improved animations;
  • intelligent transparency for the panel;
  • better emoji support & drop-in replacements for Microsoft Core fonts for the web;
  • UEFI support;
  • a new captive portal assistant to make connecting to public WiFi easier;
  • unified login and lock screens.

elementary OS Freya applications
Even though the latest elementary OS is based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, which uses GTK+ 3.10 by default, Freya ships with GTK 3.14 and it takes advantage of some of the new toolkit features, like header bars (client-side decorations), CSS support and animations, used throughout most of the desktop.
With header bars support in place, most of the default elementary OS applications were updated to use header bars (with a couple of exceptions like Midori and Ubuntu Software Center), as you'll see in the app screenshots below.
elementary OS Freya ships with three new applications installed by default: Calculator, Camera and Videos (Audience) and Photos was redesigned:

Calendar has received various user interface improvements as well as a major new feature: the app now has online calendar support (Google Calendar & CalDAV):

Since the previous elementary OS release, Pantheon's Terminal has evolved a lot and the latest version, available by default in Freya, ships with new features like natural copy & paste, smart tab labels and a warning popup when pasting commands containing “sudo” in Terminal:

The app was also updated with a search function, accessible via its header bar, as well as notifications that let you know when a task is finished (for example, a notification is displayed when running "sudo apt-get update" when the task is done, if the Terminal app is not focused):

And finally, Files (default file manager) has received search support as well as improved Samba support:

Third-party apps like Geary (0.8.3) Simple Scan (3.14.0), Document Viewer (3.14.1) and more have been updated with various improvements as well as an updated UI, with header bars:

Under the hood, elementary OS Freya uses the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Enablement Stack, so it ships with Linux Kernel 3.16, Xorg server 1.15.1 and Mesa 10.3.2.

Download elementary OS Freya
Download elementary OS Freya *
* The download link will ask for a donation but it's not mandatory - you can select 'Custom' and enter '0' if you don't want to donate.

BQ Ubuntu Phone Now Available For General Purchase

Friday 10th of April 2015 12:13:00 PM

Quick update: the BQ Ubuntu Phone is now available for general purchase in the European Union. Until now, the phones could only be bought through flash sales.
"After a successful few flash sales we're excited to announce that the shop is now open! The Ubuntu Phone will be available to purchase via our partner +BQ's store. We look forward to welcoming you to this new generation of mobile experiences that is simpler for developers and more unified for user".

Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition is the first Ubuntu phone and it was made in partnership with BQ, a Spanish producer of smartphones, tablets, electronic readers and 3d printers. 
The phone, which costs 169,90€, uses a 4.5” display (540x960 resolution) and comes with a Quad Core Cortex A7 1.3GHz MediaTek CPU, Mali 400 up to 500MHz GPU, 1 GB of RAM, an 8 Mpx rear interpolated (dual-flash and autofocus) camera and a 5 Mpx front camera.
It's important to note that the phone targets early adopters and if you just want WhatsApp or Skype, Ubuntu phone isn't for you just yet, as these services aren’t yet available.
You can read more about the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition phone in our review.
Buy Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition (169.90€)

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Gets `Always Show Menus` Unity Feature (Proposed Repository)

Wednesday 8th of April 2015 11:19:00 AM
The much requested Unity feature to always show the menus, which is already available in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet for almost three months, has been backported to Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

The default Unity menus continue to be displayed on mouseover, but with this change, there's now an option available via Dconf Editor (com > canonical > unity and enabling "always show menus") which allows setting the menus to always be visible. This feature works with both LIM (locally integrated menus) and global menu (AppMenu).
The "always show menus" option was added for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS with Unity version "7.2.4+14.04.20150316-0ubuntu1", which is currently available for the brave in the Proposed repository, and once it's properly tested (probably a few days), it should be promoted to Main as an update for all Ubuntu 14.04 LTS users.
You can see the always show menus feature in action in THIS video I recorded a while back under Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet.
Along with this feature, this Unity version also brings various other changes, like enabling Dash, Hud and the session dialogs over full screen windows, along with bug fixes. A complete changelog can be found HERE.

Update: this Unity version is now in the main (stable) Ubuntu 14.04 LTS repository.

Stay Focused And Boost Your Productivity With Ambient Noise Player

Tuesday 7th of April 2015 11:10:00 AM
ANoise, or Ambient Noise, is a simple yet very convenient application developed by Costales (who's also behind Folder Color), for playing ambient noise with a click, useful for helping you stay focused, boost your productivity or, why not, fall asleep listening to the sound of waves or rain.

The application is very simple, lightweight and doesn't get in your way. In fact, it doesn't even come with a GUI by default and instead, it only shows an entry in the Ubuntu Sound Menu which allows you to play various relaxing sounds like forest, storm, rain, wind, night, fire, coffee shop or sea.
However, if your desktop environment doesn't support something similar to Ubuntu's Sound Menu (GNOME Shell Mediaplayer extension, etc.), you can still use Ambient Noise thanks to a little GUI that's was developed for such cases:

Despite being so light, Ambient Noise comes with a a couple of minor yet useful features. 
Firstly, the app remembers your last selection so you can easily start the last used ambient noise after a reboot, etc., and secondly, if you want the app to use custom sounds, you can simply add your own .ogg files in the ~/ANoise folder and the app should pick them up automatically. You can also add a .png file with the same name as the .ogg file and that image will be used in the Ubuntu Sound Menu along with your custom .ogg file.

For now, Ambient Noise only supports ogg files. Update: Ambient Noise now supports adding mp3 and wav files.

Install Ambient Noise in Ubuntu
Ambient Noise is available in a PPA for Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10, 14.04 and 12.04 and derivatives. Add the PPA and install the app using the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:costales/anoise
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install anoise
Once installed, simply search for Ambient Noise in Unity's Dash, click it and it should show up in the Ubuntu Sound Menu (with no other GUI), like in the screenshot above. This is only required the first time you launch it and the app should continue to show up in the Ubuntu Sound Menu until it's removed from the system.
For extra sounds (right now there's only one: river, but more should be added in the future), you can install the ANoise Community Extension, by using the following command:sudo apt-get install anoise-community-extension1
Like I said above, for desktop environments where it's not possible to use Ambient Noise via a MPRIS v2 interface (like Ubuntu's Sound Menu or the GNOME Shell Mediaplayer extension), you can install a simple ANoise GUI:sudo apt-get install anoise-gui
Arch Linux users can install ANoise via AUR: ANoise | ANoise-GUI. For other Linux distributions, you can grab the Ambient Noise code from Launchpad.

Report any bugs you may find @ Launchpad.

thanks to Costales for the tip!

Enable Client Side Decorations For Rhyhmbox With `Alternative Toolbar` Plugin

Tuesday 7th of April 2015 09:26:00 AM
`Alternative Toolbar` is a Rhythmbox plugin which replaces the default Rhythmbox toolbar with a client-side decorations (header bars) toolbar or a compact toolbar that can be hidden.

The plugin, developed by +fossfreedom (who's also behind the Rhythmbox CoverArt Browser plugin) in collaboration with +Ozon and +Georgi Karavasilev, comes with options such as display type: use header bars or a regular/compact toolbar, optional compact progress bar and more:

From the header bar, you can switch between songs and categories as well as search/filter while the play controls are at the bottom, with customizable song info position, regular/compact progress bar, optional volume control and more.
Under desktop environments that don't fully support client-side decorations, the plugin is still useful because it allows you to enable a compact toolbar similar to the one available in Rhythmbox until version 2.99:

The toolbar can be hidden from the menu: View > Show Play-Controls Toolbar and you can then use Alt+Right to seek forward and Alt+Left to seek backward.
In his article about the Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar plugin, fossfreedom asks for feedback and "most importantly help with further development" so if you can help, drop by the project page or leave your feedback in the comments.
For Ozon OS, Rhythmbox will get even more changes: the sidebar and coverart plugins will be redesigned and the Alternative Toolbar plugin will be further improved. You can watch THIS video for more info.

Install Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar plugin
The Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar plugin is available in fossfreedom's Rhythmox plugins PPA (along with many other third-party plugins), for Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 and 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 or 17. To add the PPA and install the plugin, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox-plugins
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-plugin-alternative-toolbarOnce installed, enable Alternative Toolbar via Tools > Plugins.

Arch Linux users can install Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar plugin (git) via AUR. For other Linux distributions, see the installation instructions from the Rhythmbox Alternative Toolbar plugin GitHub page.

via xpress-ubuntu

Install HandBrake Video Transcoder With Fixed Black Widgets And Unity Launcher Progress Bar Integration In Ubuntu

Tuesday 31st of March 2015 10:24:00 AM
HandBrake is a popular free and open source video transcoder available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. The tool works great however, the app widgets are black under Unity, this issue being caused by Ubuntu's overlay scrollbars:

If you're using Unity, you can add +Marc Deslauriers' HandBrake PPA, which provides a fix for this black widgets bug. The HandBrake packages in this PPA also ship with Unity Launcher progress bar integration, so you can quickly see the transcoding progress without having the app on top:

For those who aren't familiar with HandBrake, here's a quick list of features:
  • for input sources, HandBrake supports most common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection;
  • supported outputs:
    • file containers: MP4 (M4V) and MKV;
    • video encoders: H.264 (x264), H.265 (x265) MPEG-4 and MPEG-2 (libav), VP8 (libvpx) and Theora (libtheora);
    • audio encoders: AAC,, MP3, Flac, AC3 and Vorbis;
  • device presets;
  • title / chapter selection;
  • chapter markers;
  • queue up multiple encoding jobs;
  • subtitles support (VobSub, Closed Captions CEA-608, SSA, SRT);
  • constant quality or average bitrate video encoding;
  • video filters: deinterlacing, decomb, denoise, detelecine, deblock, grayscale, cropping and scaling;
  • live video preview;
  • comes with graphical and command line interfaces.

Install HandBrake with Unity patches in Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 and 14.04
To add Marc Deslauriers' HandBrake PPA and install HandBrake with Unity patches (fixed black widgets and Unity Launcher progress bar integration) in Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 or 14.04, use the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mdeslaur/handbrake
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install handbrake
For other Linux distributions, Windows and Mac OS X, see the HandBrake downloads page.

via G+

Install Rhythmbox 3.2 In Ubuntu Or Linux Mint Via PPA

Monday 30th of March 2015 02:51:00 PM
Rhythmbox 3.2 was released yesterday, bringing new features like a Soudcloud plugin, along with bug fixes. If you're using Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 or 17 (and derivatives), you can already install the latest Rhythmbox via PPA.

Changes in Rhythmbox 3.2 since 3.1:
  • added a Soundcloud plugin;
  • added the ability to clear, re-fetch and manually set cover art using the song info window;
  • added support for disc and track total tags;
  • various style and layout fixes;

A complete list of changes for Rhythmbox 3.2 is available HERE.
Here are a couple of screenshots with the new Soundcloud plugin and the new cover art options from the song info window:

These are just the changes since version 3.1, available in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet however, Ubuntu 14.10 and 14.04 provide Rhythmbox 3.0.x and since then, Rhythmbox was updated with GTK 3.14 support and even more bug fixes, which you can see HERE (changes in 3.1).

Install Rhythmbox 3.2 in Ubuntu or Linux Mint
Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 or 17 (and derivatives) users can install Rhythmbox 3.2 by using fossfreedom's Rhythmbox PPA (by the way, you should also check out his Rhythmbox plugins PPA as well as his CoverArt Browser extension). Add the PPA and install/upgrade Rhythmbox by using the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rhythmboxThat's it!

If for some reason you want to remove Rhythmbox 3.2 and go back to the version available in the official Ubuntu repositories, you can purge the PPA by using the following commands:sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:fossfreedom/rhythmbox
via / thanks to fossfreedom for the PPA

Pushbullet Indicator Gets Option To Reply To SMS, WhatsApp And Telegram, Full Universal Copy And Paste Support

Monday 30th of March 2015 10:28:00 AM
Pushbullet Indicator was updated today with new features like bidirectional universal copy and paste, option to send SMS from the desktop and more.

Pushbullet is a service that lets you easily send files, links, notes, list and more to your Android or iOS device from your desktop or the other way around. The tool can also be used share the clipboard between your desktop and mobile device (feature called "Universal copy & paste"), mirror Android notifications on your desktop and more.
Note that some Pushbullet features, like replying to SMS, WhatsApp and Telegram from the desktop is not yet supported on iOS.

On Linux desktops, Pushbullet is available as a browser extension and there's no official native application. For this reason, Lorenzo from started working on Pushbullet Indicator, an unofficial Pushbullet Ubuntu client, which has now reached version 0.6.0.
Changes in Pushbullet Indicator 0.6.0:
  • Universal copy & paste is now bidirectional (until now, this only worked one way: copying something on your Android device and pasting it on the Ubuntu desktop). For this feature to work, you need to enable Universal copy & paste in both Pushbullet Indicator and the Pushbullet app on your mobile device; 
  • send SMS from the desktop. Important: using this feature, the SMS is sent via your mobile phone so it doesn't mean that the SMS is free! Unfortunately, to use this feature, you must know the phone number because Pushbullet Indicator doesn't retrieve your contacts list;
  • reply to Whatsapp, Telegram and SMS from the desktop (you must enable this from the Pushbullet Indicator settings);
  • you can now select the device to send text/links/files/etc. from the PushBullet send dialog.

Here are a few screenshots with some of these changes:

In my test, the latest Pushbullet Indicator worked great but there is one thing that could be tweaked: currently, when receiving an SMS or message via Telegram or WhatsApp, the Pushbullet Indicator reply window doesn't display the service name so you don't know where the message comes from but hopefully the service name or logo will be added in a future release (I reported the bug HERE).

Install Pushbullet Indicator in Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 or 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 or 17 Cinnamon
Before proceeding, install Pushbullet on your Android or iOS device.
Pushbullet Indicator is available in the Atareao PPA for Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 and 14.04 / Linux Mint 17.1 and 17 (Cinnamon only). Add the PPA and install the indicator using the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pushbullet-indicator
Once installed, run Pushbullet Indicator and an authentication dialog should show up automatically - here, log in to your PushBullet account authorize Pushbullet Indicator to access your Pushbullet profile and data.

If this window doesn't open automatically, from the Pushbullet Indicator settings, set the "Allow access to PushBullet" slider to ON and authenticate with Pushbullet.
The PPA also provides Nautilus and Nemo extensions for Pushbullet (which you can use to send files directly from Nautilus or Nemo to your mobile device). These extensions are optional and Pushbullet doen't depend on the file manager you use. Install them using the following commands:- for Nautilus:
sudo apt-get install nautilus-pushbullet
nautilus -q- for Nemo:
sudo apt-get install nemo-pushbullet
nemo -q
Report any bugs you may find @ Launchpad.


Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet Final Beta Available For Download

Friday 27th of March 2015 01:18:00 AM
Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta was released today, bringing quite a few changes, like locally integrated menus (LIM) by default, upstart was replaced with systemd by default as well as various other improvements and fixes. Let's take a look at what's new!

Changes in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta
Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta comes with quite a few menu changes. Firstly, LIM (locally integrated menu) is now the default menu type:

Locally integrated menus are displayed in the window's titlebar for unmaximized windows, instead of the previous default Unity approach, which was to always display the menu on the top panel. LIM was introduced with Ubuntu 14.04 as an alternative to Unity's Appmenu (global menu), but it's not used by default in either Ubuntu 14.04 or 14.10.
LIM uses autohide by default however, there are some new options which allow you to change its behavior. Most importantly, you can now disable the autohide feature for both LIM as well as the previously used default Unity global menu. This option is available via Dconf Editor: com > canonical > unity and enabling "always show menus".
Furthermore, LIM was tweaked and it now allows accessing the menus of unfocused windows, a feature that wasn't avaialble until now. Thanks to this, you can directly open the menu of an unfocused window by clicking on it. If you don't like this behavior, you can disable it via Dconf Editor: com > canonical > unity > integrated-menus > unfocused-windows-popup.
If you prefer the old default global menu (Appmenu), you can easily switch back to it, by going to System Settings > Appearance and on the Behavior tab, under "Show the menus for a window", enable "In the menu bar".
Yet another menu improvement in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet is the addition of JAyatana by default - this provides AppMenu support for Java Swing applications:

Other Unity and Compiz changes include:
  • Dash, HUD and the logout dialogs now work over fullscreen windows;
  • tweaks to animations for faster startup and shutdown experiences;
  • fixes for various problems that occur with the nVidia proprietary driver (mostly blank or black windows);
  • many bug fixes and small improvements.

Another change, not visual but a very important one nevertheless, is that Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet switched to booting with systemd by default, replacing upstart. This change affects Ubuntu desktop along with all Ubuntu desktop flavors as well as cloud/autopkgtests (snappy was already using systemd).
This change occurred on March 9 and back then, Martin Pitt said that the plan is to use systemd for a few weeks and if "there are too many or too big regressions", Vivid will be reverted to boot with upstart by default. So the final Ubuntu 15.04 release will most probably boot with systemd by default, but there's still a (minor) chance it won't.
I'm using Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet for a couple of weeks and I didn't encounter any issues with systemd, though some users have reported issues with it, like a very long boot time, but hopefully everything will be fixed for the final release. What I can tell you from my test is that my laptop not only boots just as fast with systemd as it did with upstart, but the shutdown process is now very fast - around 2-3 seconds, while before this change, it sometimes took more than 8-9-10 seconds.
And finally, Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta ships with various theme improvements, like support for GTK 3.14, better CSD apps integration (though THIS bug still occurs) and more:

... as well as a new default wallpaper:

Applications / packages
Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta ships with the following default applications: Nautilus 1:3.14.2, Firefox 36.0.1, Thunderbird 31.5.0, LibreOffice 4.4.1, Ubuntu Software Center 13.10, Gedit 3.10.4, Totem 3.14.2, Rhythmbox 3.1, Empathy 3.12.8, Transmission 2.84, Deja Dup 32, Shotwell 0.20.2, Brasero 3.12, Evince 3.14.2, GNOME Terminal 3.14.2, GNOME System Monitor 3.15.91 and Eye of GNOME 3.14.3, on top of 7.3.1 (+dailybuild) and GTK3+ 3.14.9. 
Here are screenshots with a few of the core GNOME apps that were updated to version 3.14 in Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet:

Under the hood, Vivid final beta ships with Mesa 10.5.0, Xorg server 1.17.1 and the Ubuntu Linux Kernel 3.19.0, based on the upstream 3.19.2 Linux Kernel.
Vivid final beta ships with GTK 3.14.9 and not the latest 3.16 (and mostly GNOME 3.14 apps as you can see from the list above) because GNOME 3.16 was just released and Ubuntu 15.04 had its feature freeze on February 19th. However, at least some important applications were updated to version 3.14, like Nautilus (Ubuntu 14.10 has Nautilus 3.10), GNOME Terminal (Utopic has an ancient version: 3.6.2) and Totem (Utopic has version 3.10.1).
Also, GNOME Shell 3.14.4 is available in the repositories (and available by default in Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta, obviously), along with the 3.14 version of GNOME Control Center, GNOME Settings Daemon, GDM and most GNOME apps like Maps, Weather, Clocks, Bijiben, Music, Photos, Boxes as well as GNOME games like Mines and Sudoku.

Download Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta
Before downloading it, remember that Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet is in beta, so you may encounter issues, especially with the recent switch to boot with systemd!
Download Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet final beta | release notes
Ubuntu flavor downloads/release notes:

Ubuntu 15.04 (stable) will be released on April 23rd and it will be supported for 9 months.
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GNOME 3.16 Released With New Notification System, Updated Visuals [Video, Screenshots]

Wednesday 25th of March 2015 03:40:00 PM

GNOME 3.16 was released today and it includes some important changes, like a new notification system, updated visuals, 3 new preview applications and much more. Read on to find out what's new!

GNOME 3.16 video
Below you can watch a video which presents some of the changes in the latest GNOME 3.16:

(direct video link; for more videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel)
Note that I used VirtualBox for the video, that's why you might notice some lag at times. Also, Maps is not present in the video because it crashes in VirtualBox.

Changes in GNOME 3.16
GNOME 3.16 brings a long-awaited change: a new notification system, which has replaced the old Message Tray. The notification history can now be accessed from the date/time menu (Top Bar):

Furthermore, the date/time menu was redesigned and besides displaying the notifications history, the calendar can now also show world times, as you can see in the screenshot above.
Since the notification history is now displayed at the top, the notification popups (called "banners") were also moved and are now displayed at the top of the screen:

As for legacy "tray" icons, they can still be accessed in GNOME 3.16 and they are displayed in a "drawer" that uses autohide in the bottom left corner of the screen:

To see the new legacy tray in action, see the video above.

Also, the new notifications, the media player controls were removed but they may be reintroduced with GNOME 3.18.

Another important change in GNOME 3.16 is related to the visuals: the Activities Overview, login/lock screen, system menus and others have received an updated design (including monochrome icons for the applications menu):

With GNOME 3.16, the scrollbars were tweaked and instead of being displayed all the time, like in the previous GNOME versions, the new GNOME 3.16 scrollbars are displayed only when needed:

The latest GTK+ 3.16 has received quite a few improvements, such as:
  • OpenGL support;
  • GTK+ now includes a display system backend for the Mir display server;
  • themes can now simultaneously support multiple GTK+ versions, by including version-specific CSS;
  • a new widget called GtkPopoverMenu was added and it can be used for creating menus contained with popovers;
  • many GTK+ Inspector changes including a much improved user interface.

Other changes include:
  • the initial setup assistant now includes a section on privacy controls;
  • updated high contrast accessible theme;
  • search has been added to the standard file chooser dialog;
  • Wayland improvements, such as support for input configuration and pointer barries - with these changes, the Wayland port is "approaching its final stages";
  • many other minor improvements and tweaks.

GNOME applications
With this release, GNOME's Image Viewer has been redesigned and it now uses header bars (client-side decorations):

Files (Nautilus) 3.16 comes with bigger icons/thumbnails by default, reorganized menus, improved grid and list views as well as a new popover for changing between views, zoom level and sort order:

Also, with the latest Files app, users can now move files and folders to the trash using the Delete key instead of Ctrl + Delete, like in previous versions (in Ubuntu for instance, Nautilus was patched to allow this in previous versions). To accompany this change, a new, easy to discover undo feature was added:

Another application that has received special attention for this release is Maps, which can now display information bubbles which can display the address, wheelchair accessibility along with links to Wikipedia articles. Also, the latest GNOME Maps comes with built-in Foursquare support, which allows you to check-in (to be able to use it, you must add your Foursquare account to Online Accounts).

Other changes in Maps include:
  • contact search: if contacts have address information associated with them, you can search for them directly from Maps
  • improved state handling: Maps now gracefully responds when there is no network connection, or when location services are turned off
  • route drag and drop: it is now possible to adjust routes by dragging them on the map

Changes in other GNOME apps:
  • Calculator now displays previous calculations so you can easily copy previous figures;
  • Boxes comes with an updated properties interface, a new menu makes it possible to send keyboard shortcuts that cannot be entered directly into a box and more;
  • smart playlists have been added to Music, so you can view frequently played and recently added tracks. It is now also possible to star your favorite tracks;
  • Photos and Music have received performance improvements;
  • improved GNOME Document Viewer sidebar;
  • in Contacts, maps are now shown for contact addresses;
  • automatic codecs installation has been integrated into Software;
  • two new games were added: a sliding blocks game called Taquin and 2048.

With GNOME 3.16, there are three new preview applications: Calendar (which already comes with Google Calendar sync), Characters (character map application) and Books (e-book viewer):

Furthermore, as a result of a successful crowdfunding campaign, a new IDE for GNOME, called "Builder", is now available as an early preview, and it already features split view, snippets, auto-indentation and a VIM engine but many more features should be added in the future, like project management, debugging, version tracking, Glade integration and others:

And finally, this GNOME release includes a new application, called MultiWriter, which can be used for writing image files to multiple USB devices:

Getting GNOME 3.16
GNOME 3.16 should be available by default in Fedora 22 (currently in alpha) and the next openSUSE release (scheduled for 2015).
Arch Linux users can find the latest GNOME 3.16 in the GNOME unstable repository. Update: GNOME 3.16 is now available for Arch in the extra (stable) repository.
Ubuntu (GNOME) 15.04, which will be released next month, won't include GNOME 3.16 but GNOME 3.14. However, GNOME 3.16 will probably be available with Ubuntu 15.10. The GNOME 3 Staging PPA is in the process of being updated to GNOME 3.16 for Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet, but it's nowhere near ready yet.
GNOME 3.16 isn't yet available in Debian, with 3.14 being available in both jessie (testing) and sid (unstable).
If you want to try GNOME 3.16, you can do it already by using the official GNOME promo ISO (based on openSUSE):
Download GNOME 3.16 promo ISO

 info and the Maps and MultiWriter screenshots via GNOME release notes

NitroShare 0.3.0: Easily Send Files To Other Machines On The Local Network

Monday 23rd of March 2015 11:26:00 AM
NitroShare is a tool that can be used to easily transfer files between computers on your local network, available for Linux, Windows and Mac OS X.
NitroShare features:
  • no configuration required: each device running NitroShare broadcasts its presence to other devices on the network;
  • supports transferring files as well as directories;
  • displays desktop notifications for completed transfers or when someone on the local network starts or quits NitroShare;
  • simple, easy to use user interface.

NitroShare is very easy to use: simply select "Send Files..." or "Send Directory..." from the AppIndicator / tray icon menu, select the files and you get a list of devices that run NitroShare on your local network:

After selecting the files and the device you want to share them with, click "Ok" and the file transfer should begin.
NitroShare Settings and Transfers
From the NitroShare settings, you can set the device name, default downloads directory as well as some advanced settings that you shouldn't change unless you really need it, which include setting the transfer port and buffer as well as the broadcast port, timeout and interval.
NitroShare 0.3.0 was released over the weekend and it includes quite a few changes, the most important being that the app was almost completely rewritten in order to better organize the code and improve performance. Also, NitroShare is now using Qt 5.
Another interesting change is the implementation of a new simplified discovery process - the configuration wizard was removed and the user doesn't have to do anything after installing NitroShare to get it to work -, just start the app on each device and you can start transferring files. NitroShare can even add an exception to the Windows Firewall or UFW if necessary.
And finally, the last improvement in this release is the removal of file size limitations: you can now transfer files of any size.
Unfortunately, some features were removed in this release: NitroShare no longer ships with Nautilus integration and the "share boxes" (widgets that could be used to drag and drop files to share them between computers on your local network) feature was removed. However, according to the release announcement, the "share boxes" feature might return with the next NitroShare version.

Download NitroShare
Download NitroShare (binaries available for Ubuntu 14.04, 14.10 or 15.04, Windows and Mac OS X as well as the source)
Optional: Ubuntu 15.04, 14.10 or 14.04 (and derivatives) users can install NitroShare by using its official PPA:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:george-edison55/nitroshare
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nitroshareReport any issues you may encounter @ GitHub.

Also see: Dukto LAN File Transfer Tool Is Easy To Use, Multi-Platform

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