All posts tagged ‘Linux’

File Under: operating systems

First Look: Ubuntu ‘Intrepid Ibex’ Beta Delivers Improved UI, New Features

ubuntu.jpgThe first beta for the next major version of Ubuntu Linux is now available for download and testing. While it isn’t finished yet, the beta version of “Intrepid Ibex,” as this release is known, promises a number of important improvements for the popular Linux distribution.

The first beta of Ubuntu 8.10 follows in the footsteps of Ubuntu 8.04, nick-named “Hardy Heron,” with incremental upgrades that, while not necessarily flashy and obvious, make for a much nicer user experience.

Perhaps the most noticeable change in Ubuntu 8.10 is the new GNOME 2.24 desktop, which brings tabbed Nautilus windows and some new apps like Empathy, a new instant messaging client. Ubuntu, however, seems to be sticking with Pidgin as the default IM client, to enable Empathy you’ll need to install it via Add/Remove.

Ubuntu 8.10 desktop

You’ll also notice some new applets in GNOME 2.24, including a much improved Deskbar search app which can now perform calculator operations, search Google and even update Twitter.

For more details on everything that’s new in GNOME 2.24, be sure to check out our earlier review.

deskbarUpdate Twitter using the GNOME Deskbar

Some of the less obvious, but equally nice improvements in the 8.10 beta include an upgrade for X.org, which offers better support for hot-pluggable input devices — tablets, keyboards, mice, etc — and should stop most people from needing to muck with the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.

It’s a tiny change, and may be unique to the beta, but long time Ubuntu users will notice that the login chime has been changed — no more drumming sounds of the African Savannah.

guestUbuntu’s new default Guest account

Also new in 8.10 is the inclusion of guest accounts for the fast user switching feature. The guest account creates a temporary password-less user account with restricted privileges; guests cannot access any home directories or permanently store data, which makes it a safe way to let your friends check their e-mail without needing to worry that they’ll mess something up.

Ubuntu 8.10 also features the latest version of Network Manager, the graphical interface for setting up and tweaking both Ethernet and wireless network connections. The manager has a host of new features, including a very easy way to manage of 3G connections — good news for those hacking Ubuntu onto their GSM-enabled netbook.

As with all Ubuntu releases, the alternative distros have also released beta versions. Perhaps the most significant is the release of Kubuntu, which is based on the KDE desktop instead of GNOME, and includes the latest stable version of KDE 4. See our earlier coverage for more on what’s new in KDE 4.1.

If the new features have you wanting to upgrade, head over to the Ubuntu downloads page and grab an ISO image, but be warned: this is a beta and bugs do exist. Unless you’re looking to just do some testing, we suggest holding out for the final release, which is set to arrive later this month.

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Upgrade Your Linux Desktop Experience With GNOME 2.24

GNOME 2.24

The creators of the GNOME have released a significant upgrade to their desktop environment for Linux. This upgrade comes with several new applications and an accompanying mobile platform based on the GNOME desktop.

GNOME is the default for many popular Linux distros, and the latest version will be included in upcoming versions of Ubuntu, Fedora and many other Linux distributions. The basic idea behind GNOME (and competitor KDE) is to provide a unified interface for common apps — a file browser, multimedia tools and productivity apps.

The latest release brings GNOME to version 2.24 and includes some new apps like the Empathy, an instant messaging client which promises tighter integration with the GNOME desktop and a smoother IM experience on Linux.

Although it’s a relatively minor feature, longtime GNOME fans will be happy to note that the latest release adds the much-requested support for tabbed windows in the Nautilus file browser (we’d still like to see a “column view” option as well, but at least now you have tabs).

Other minor but welcome new features include a task manager/to do list applet for the GNOME panel, additional screen resolution tools for those with multiple monitors, and support for high-resolution YouTube videos in the GNOME Movie Player app.

Taking a tip from OS X’s Spotlight search tool, GNOME’s own Deskbar search app can now perform calculator operations, search Google, update Twitter and more. There’s also a new, easier way to install plugins directly from the online Deskbar repository.

The other major part of today’s announcement is the release of GNOME mobile, which provides a desktop environment and development framework for Linux mobile devices. While Apple and Google may be grabbing mobile headlines at the moment, Ubuntu Mobile and others are hard at work trying to bring Linux to a phone near you.

The GNOME mobile stack should make that process somewhat easier with its pre-built tools like the GTK+ toolset and frameworks for writing apps in C, C++ and Python.

At the moment, however, GNOME is probably best known as a desktop enviroment for Linux and the latest release is definitely worth the upgrade. If you’d like to install it now, check your distro’s repositories to see if an update is available. If not you can grab the live CD from the GNOME downloads page. Or, if you can stand to wait a few weeks, both Ubuntu and Fedora will be releasing GNOME 2.24-based updates in October.

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File Under: Software & Tools

Adobe AIR for Linux no Longer a Second Class Citizen

AirlogoAdobe has released an update to its Adobe AIR beta for Linux, which brings hybrid on/offline AIR apps to the Linux platform.

The latest version of the Linux beta brings AIR on Linux up to rough feature parity with the Windows and Mac versions. The notable exceptions include support for DRM and badge installations.

But you will find the update adds features like support for system tray icons, keyboard shortcuts, localization, internationalized input, filetype registration, SWF and PDFs in HTML, multi-monitor support, fullscreen mode, encrypted local storage and more.

Adobe claims that any AIR application that works on the Windows/Mac AIR 1.1 should now work on Linux as well, except of course for those that use DRM features, but somehow we doubt Linux users are upset about that.

You can grab a copy of the latest version of the Linux beta from the Adobe Labs page.

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File Under: operating systems

Ubuntu Linux Looks to the Cloud for ‘Jaunty Jackalope’

jackalopeUbuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that the upcoming Ubuntu 9.04 will be code named “Jaunty Jackalope” and should arrive April 2009. While most Ubuntu users are probably looking forward to 8.10′s release next month, Shuttleworth and team are already looking to the future, one that will push the OS toward hybrid “weblications.”

Shuttleworth, who has previously said that in order for Linux to compete on the desktop, it must “look as good as OS X,” promises that 9.04 will make the Ubuntu experience “comparable to those of the traditional big OSV’s — Microsoft and Apple.” But he also stresses the importance of what he calls “weblications” — desktop apps that integrate with web-based counterparts.

In a post to the Ubuntu mailing list Shuttleworth writes, “the bar is set very high, and we have been given the opportunity to leap over it… we want to make sure that the very best thinking across the whole open source ecosystem is reflected in Ubuntu, because many people will judge free software as a whole by what we do.”

As for the specifics of Jaunty Jackalope, Shuttle worth says the focus will be improving boot time and making the general performance snappier. He also writes that Ubuntu 9.04 will focus on the web-desktop metaphor, which is why the Ubuntu team has chosen the Jackalope code name:

Another goal is the the blurring of web services and desktop applications. “Is it a deer? Is it a bunny? Or is it a weblication — a desktop application that seamlessly integrates the web!” This hare has legs — and horns — and we’ll be exploring it in much more detail for Jaunty.

More specifics will likely be hammered out at the Ubuntu conference in Mountain View December where the developers will finalize their Jaunty plans.

[photo credit, Mykl Roventine, Flickr]

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File Under: operating systems

Microsoft, Novell Extend Controversial Partnership

TuxWindowsMicrosoft and Novell have agreed to extend the controversial deal the two competitors struck back in 2006. The new agreement will see Microsoft purchase additional Novell certificates that its customers can redeem for Novell’s SUSE Linux service and support.

The two companies also say they will continue to enhance the various tools designed to create better interoperability between Windows Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Kevin Turner, chief operating officer at Microsoft, says “our increased investment in the relationship with Novell is intended to give [our] customers and partners the best possible Windows-Linux interoperability solution.”

What’s perhaps most interesting about the extension of the deal that caused a massive uproar in the open source community is that, this time around, Microsoft hasn’t been touting the “protection” component.

When the two rivals first announced their agreement back in 2006, Microsoft played up the angle that it was giving Novell customers “protection” from any potential lawsuits against Linux. The company then went on a blustering “Linux steals our intellectual property” tour, proclaiming that lawsuits against Linux would be forthcoming.

The response from the Linux community was a rather blunt, sue up or shut up, and it would appear that Microsoft has opted for the later. In fact, today’s press release only mentions the intellectual property agreement in passing.

Instead the focus is on making Windows Server and SUSE Linux work better together. The read-between-the-lines message is that Microsoft knows server virtualization tools are a threat and wants to head them off at the pass.

While the open source community may still view Novell with suspicion, at least Microsoft seems to have moved beyond its schoolyard bully tactics.

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