Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Archive

Compiz: Ubuntu Desktop’s little known best friend

Compiz can quickly get you the desktop you deserve: a desktop with a very high degree of customizability, on top of being faster than the default GNOME Shell, and (as far as I can tell) faster than Mac or Windows.

The best part is that it takes no time at all to get up and running! I’ll show you how to transform Ubuntu into a desktop that is functionally similar to Mac.

I doubt any of this is news to many OSNews readers, but it's still a nice introduction into the functionality offered by Compiz.

Ubuntu 18.10 released

Ubuntu 18.10 has been released.

The Linux 4.18 kernel together with updates in Mesa and X.org significantly improve game performance. Graphics support expands to AMD VegaM in the latest Intel Kabylake-G CPUs, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, B+ and Qualcomm Snapdragon 845.

Ubuntu 18.10 introduces the GNOME 3.30 desktop and Yaru, the new community-developed default theme. Fingerprint unlock functionality is featured for compatible PCs and the latest versions of Firefox, LibreOffice, and Chromium are included.

The full release notes are also available.

Malware found in the Ubuntu Snap store

Oh, snap! Just because some packages are available to install directly from the Ubuntu Software Center doesn't make them safe. This is proved by a recent discovery of malware in some snap packages from the Ubuntu Snaps Store.

At least two of the snap packages, 2048buntu and Hextris, uploaded to the Ubuntu Snaps Store by user Nicolas Tomb, contained malware. All packages by Nicolas have since been removed from the Ubuntu Snaps Store, "pending further investigations".

I honestly did not expect anyone to care enough to upload malware to the Ubuntu Software Center. Good thing it got caught.

Ubuntu 18.04: Ubuntu has never been better

Ubuntu 18.04 is a huge update, but I say that mostly in the best sense of big updates. It brings a ton of new stuff, both under the hood and on the desktop, without creating too much disruption to your workflows. The one exception to that is HUD users, who may want to stick with the version of Unity still in the Ubuntu repos.

The amount of time and effort wasted by switching to Unity and now switching back to GNOME shows - even this latest release looks and feels so dated to me.

Ubuntu 17.10: return of the GNOME

Ars Technica once again provides us with an in-depth Ubuntu review:

If you've been following the Linux world at all, you know this has been an entire year for spring cleaning. Early in 2017, Canonical stopped work on its homegrown Unity desktop, Mir display server, and its larger vision of 'convergence' - a unified interface for Ubuntu for phones, tablets, and desktops.

And now almost exactly six years after Ubuntu first switched from GNOME 2 to the Unity desktop, that has been dropped, too. The distro is back to GNOME, and Canonical recently released Ubuntu 17.10, a major update with some significant changes coming to the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system.

In light of the GNOME switch, this release seems like more of a homecoming than an entirely new voyage. But that said, Ubuntu 17.10 simultaneously feels very much like the start of a new voyage for Ubuntu.

My Ubuntu for mobile devices post mortem analysis

Now that Ubuntu phones and tablets are gone, I would like to offer my thoughts on why I personally think the project failed and what one may learn from it.

To recapitulate my involvement in the project: I had been using Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus 7 on an on-and-off-basis between its announcement in 2013 and December 2014, started working on Click apps in December 2014, started writing the 15-part “Hacking Ubuntu Touch” blog post series about system internals in January 2015, became an Ubuntu Phone Insider, got a Meizu MX4 from Canonical, organized and sponsored the UbuContest app development contest, worked on bug reports and apps until about April 2016, and then sold off/converted all my remaining devices in mid-2016. So I think I can offer some thoughts about the project, its challenges and where we could have done better.

Excellent and detailed explanation of why Ubuntu Phone failed.

Ubuntu 17.04 Zesty Zapus released

Sorry for the delay on this one - it's been a... Busy weekend for me personally, so I'm only just now catching up with most of the news from the past few days.

Codenamed "Zesty Zapus", Ubuntu 17.04 continues Ubuntu's proud tradition of integrating the latest and greatest open source technologies into a high-quality, easy-to-use Linux distribution. The team has been hard at work through this cycle, introducing new features and fixing bugs.

Under the hood, there have been updates to many core packages, including a new 4.10-based kernel, and much more.

Ubuntu Desktop has seen incremental improvements, with newer versions of GTK and Qt, updates to major packages like Firefox and LibreOffice, and stability improvements to Unity.

This is possibly the last release to feature Unity, which makes it oddly notable. Interesting, too, how that lines up with the Z name.

Ubuntu to switch back to GNOME, drop Unity

Mark Shuttleworth, dropping a bombshell on a boring Wednesday:

We are wrapping up an excellent quarter and an excellent year for the company, with performance in many teams and products that we can be proud of. As we head into the new fiscal year, it's appropriate to reassess each of our initiatives. I'm writing to let you know that we will end our investment in Unity8, the phone and convergence shell. We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

I took the view that, if convergence was the future and we could deliver it as free software, that would be widely appreciated both in the free software community and in the technology industry, where there is substantial frustration with the existing, closed, alternatives available to manufacturers. I was wrong on both counts. In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation. And industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a 'better the devil you know' approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms. What the Unity8 team has delivered so far is beautiful, usable and solid, but I respect that markets, and community, ultimately decide which products grow and which disappear.

That just happened.

Canonical releases Ubuntu 16.10

Ubuntu, the platform used in the majority of cloud deployments worldwide, today released version 16.10 with hybrid cloud operations, bare-metal cloud performance, the ability to lift-and-shift 80% of Linux VMs to machine containers, Kubernetes for world-leading process-container coordination, full container support in OpenStack, and telco-grade networking latency enhancements.

...this isn't really about the desktop anymore, is it?

Review of the Ubuntu-powered Meizu Pro 5

Canonical has been talking about making Ubuntu on tablets and phones a reality now for several years, and in recent months we have finally seen a few devices come on the market. A review of the Meizu Pro 5, a Ubuntu-powered smart phone that is compatible with North American 4G networks, appeared on DistroWatch.The article covers how Ubuntu compares to Android and explores the differences between traditional apps vs Ubuntu scopes:

Scopes are a slightly unusual concept in the smart phone market, but I grew to appreciate the idea. What eventually gave me the "a-ha" moment when it came to scopes was when I realised scopes are for looking at information and apps for doing things. Scopes are always on, always waiting in the background to provide us with small bits of data. Applications are for performing tasks. A scope will tell me what is on my calendar for the day, an application will create new appointments. A scope will tell me who called me recently while an app will place a new call.

Pre-order the Ubuntu tablet, Aquaris M10

After the first few Ubuntu smartphones, it only made sense for Ubuntu to find its way to a tablet as well. The Aquaris M10 can now be preordered, and has the ability to switch between tablet mode and desktop mode, providing an interface for each.

When you switch to desktop mode, the scopes become windows which you can navigate using the touchscreen or with a mouse. You can also connect the tablet to a monitor to view your work on a larger screen. This convergence facilitates multitasking and expands the tablet’s possibilities as a work tool. What's more, it includes apps like LibreOffice and GIMP Image Editor, so you can use it without restrictions in a professional environment.

We're getting ever closer to an interface which automatically adapts to whatever screen or input devices it's connected to, which is something I personally would go for in a heartbeat. I find it incredibly silly that we're lugging around a phone and a laptop, have a desktop at home, and maybe even a tablet, when many of these devices are more than powerful enough to take on almost all computing tasks of any of them.

The Ubuntu tablet comes in two flavours, and starts at €259.

The most powerful Ubuntu phone is still not good enough

If there's one thing tech enthusiasts love more than an underdog, it's an underdog with high specs. The Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition is just such a device. It's powered by the same 14nm Samsung Exynos processor as the flagship Galaxy S6. It has a 21-megapixel camera with laser-assisted phase-detect autofocus and a Hi-Fi audio chip from ESS. Clad in an aluminum unibody shell and sporting an AMOLED display, it's as modern and good looking as any smartphone out here at Mobile World Congress. But it runs Ubuntu, and that makes it too much of an underdog.

With non-iOS and non-Android smartphone operating systems dropping like flies left and right, it's commendable that Canonical is still trying with Ubuntu. Too bad that even on such powerful hardware, and after years of development and promises, Ubuntu is still slow and cumbersome on smartphones.

Ubuntu Phone review: years in the making, still not ready

Aside from the app void and the questionable value of Scopes, Ubuntu Phone is a bit of a nightmare to use the majority of the time. Something's often refreshing in the background, causing the phone to slow down. Apps take longer to load than they should, and even then you're probably waiting on a web app. The gesture-based navigation is unrefined; there are bugs and glitches all over the place; and in general, many core experiences are severely lacking in polish. Despite years of development, Ubuntu Phone still feels like an early beta, and I think Canonical needs to think long and hard about the implementation of Scopes and bump native apps up the agenda. There's nothing wrong with trying to be different, but there's a reason Android/iOS are so popular. Ignoring the headway they've made in refining the mobile experience is, in my mind, setting yourself up for failure.

It's taking Canonical way, way too long. If the much further along Sailfish and Jolla can't really make a serious dent into anything, it's easy to imagine this won't go anywhere either.

Hands-on with Mark Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu phone

At the Canonical booth at Mobile World Congress, I had a chance meeting with Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and spiritual leader of Ubuntu. I was actually at the booth to try out the new Ubuntu Edition of the Meizu MX4, a mid- to high-end smartphone, but all of the untethered devices had run out of battery - every phone, that is, except for Shuttleworth's.

Ubuntu Phone looks good on this device. The Verge has an additional story.

Video demos Ubuntu Convergence on tablet, phone

Although long talked about, the Ubuntu Edge campaign exemplified the concept best with its "super phone" boast: your phone would hook up to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and become a fully functioning Ubuntu desktop PC. Phone apps would run on the desktop in an appropriate guise like responsive websites do on phones.

Today, ahead of Mobile World Congress next month, Ubuntu Desktop Manager Will Cooke has posted a three-minute video that shows how Canonical's engineering team is progressing.

My dream smartphone would be a phone that automatically turns into a PC the moment I get home. It knows I'm home, wirelessly and automatically hooks up to my display, mouse, and keyboard in my office, and done. Of course, it'd also automatically detect other displays and input devices in my house - say, a remote control and my TV.

Ubuntu is working on it.