Yes, it seems like a lifetime ago that Lightworks first gave word of its plans to port itself to Linux and open-source its codebase.
The move sees the editor, used in the editing of many a Oscar-winning film, become the first (and so far only) professional-grade video tool on the platform.
But progress has been slow – though understandably so given the project’s huge code-base.
And despite recent mis-communications over access to betas, short-lapse windows of access, and expired deadline dates, work on Lightworks for Linux strides ever forward – as this following new video shows….
If the video has whetted your appetite then you’ll be pleased to know that a public beta testing programme for the app is due very, very soon….
Canonical has added a legal notice to Ubuntu’s ‘About this Computer‘ window in a recent update to Ubuntu 13.04.
The legalese, which informs users of how their Unity search terms are used, is the same as that shown in Ubuntu 12.10 when clicking the ‘Legal Notice’ link in the bottom right-hand corner of the Dash.
Canonical were cajoled into adding such a notice following a backlash from community and privacy rights groups over Ubuntu 12.10′s introduction of Amazon product suggestions in the Dash.
It’s yet unclear whether the existing Dash link will remain in place, and if it does whether it will link to this new section of System Settings rather than launching a web browser, but Canonical are wise to make it more accessible to users looking for information about their system.
The new legal notice joins a recent change to the text shown in the Unity Dash search box, which informs users that it text entered is matched against online as well as local content.
An improved, smarter and more diverse search experience will feature in Ubuntu 13.04.
Unity 7, which has just been granted a Feature Freeze Exception by Mark Shuttleworth, introduces the new ‘Smart Scopes’ feature to the Dash. Aiding the feature will be a plethora of new ‘Scopes’ (think ‘content specific search engines’) installed by default.
But do more Scopes mean more irrelevant results appearing in the Dash at inopportune times?
No. Let’s see why…Smarter Scopes Give Better Experience
The ‘Smart Scopes Service’ service, along with the wedge of new scopes installed by default to power it, is called ‘smart’ for a reason. And here’s why.
When you make a search in Unity 7′s Dash, your query, whether it’s for an app, band, or celestial body, is passed to a central server maintained by Canonical.
This ‘disembodied brain‘ mulls over your request, looks at what Scopes (think ‘specific search engines’) you have installed on your computer, and then returns results it deems relevant, from the scopes it deems relevant.
You then see these in the Unity Dash.
Only the Scopes suggested by the Smart Scope Service will be triggered to deliver results, making the Dash perform quickly despite as many as 100 Scopes being scoured through.
All Scopes are ‘terminated’ when the Dash closes; none are left running in the background to sap on bandwidth or memory.
Local results – your files, photos and documents, etc – are given greater priority in results.
But that’s not where the ‘smartness’ ends. Oh no.
Having served up a selection of results that it thinks are relevant, the server then pays attention to which results you click on, learn from it, and adapts its future results based on it.
By ‘crowdsourcing’ the value of relevancy the ‘Smart Scope Service’ will only grow more and more smarter as more and more people use it.Smarter Approach to Privacy
As with the single, solitary shopping scope that debuted in Ubuntu 12.10, news of Unity sending more of your searches online will see concerns over privacy and data protection raised.
Canonical are approaching things cautiously this time around, with super-fine-grained controls planned for the disabling of specific scopes, and the entire Smart Scopes Service feature entirely.
But it will be enabled by default.That won’t please those who think online features should be disabled until the user “opts-in”.
Ubuntu developer Michael Hall recently responded to one such argument:
“…Ubuntu is advertised as “Linux for Human Beings” not “Linux for absolute privacy protection”. As such, our defaults are selected based on what produces the best user experience. If privacy is your primary concern, there are niche distros that cater to you.”
By choosing to download/install/upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04 users are opting into the “Ubuntu Experience”. And part of that experience is having a powerful, ‘find anything’ search experience included by default.When Will It Arrive
So that’s what it is, what it’ll (mostly) include, but when can you play with it?
If you’re already using Ubuntu 13.04 then Unity 7 is tentatively pegged to arrive on March 25th. A PPA containing Unity 7 will be available shortly before then for testers to use.
Ubuntu 12.10 users will have to wait until they upgrade to Ubuntu 13.04.
Ubuntu Touch has a number of neat interface elements, one of which is its sidebar launcher.
But unless you’re willing to flash your phone or tablet with an unstable – and not-yet-entirely-useful developer preview – you’ll have to wait for a hands-on feel for how it works.
That is, unless you install a custom app for Android called Glovebox.
Before we go on I will point out that the developer of Glovebox says his app ‘is not based on the Ubuntu Phone OS sidebar‘.
It’s up for you to decide how sincere a claim that is, but what’s more relevant than its inspiration is the functionality and style it offers. And in both cases it’s similar enough to the ‘Ubuntu Touch’ launcher to be of interest.Features, Themes & Neat Stuff
With a quick swipe of your thumb from the side of the screen you can launch pinned apps without lifting a finger – how many apps can promise that?
Options available in the free version include:
Cough up some extra dough and you also ‘unlock’
The developer has put together a slick video demoing the app, including some of the premium features:Drawbacks, Bugs & Crashes
The biggest drawback in this otherwise ‘free’ app is the locked functionality. Without coughing up for the premium version you are limited to 8 apps, no widgets, and limited customisation options.
And while the pomo video above shows off some Ubuntu Touch-esque icons, the app doesn’t currently support icon packs.
Do be aware of bugs. The most common being that the launcher ‘freezes’ on screen, and can’t be swiped away. If this happens app freezes (which it does) open up the main settings pane and toggle it off and then back on.Download
Glovebox is a free app for Android 1.6 and above. In-app premium version available for extra features.
Ubuntu 12.04 user? Look out for an update coming shortly that brings with it some much needed fixes to the Unity 2D interface.
Multi-monitor fixes make up the bulk of the updates, including:
Other fixes include:
While none of these changes are going to redefine the computing experience they will nevertheless be appreciated updates to those using Unity 2D on Ubuntu’s most recent Long Term Support release.
But before your gaming thumbs get overly itchy at the prospect of new games to play do note that all three of the extra games are ‘repeat’ inclusions.
The three titles, last included in the previous Humble Bundle for Android sale, are:
But if you’re yet to be tempted by the collection you’ll need to cough up more than the average price at the time of sale (at the time of writing it’s around $6.60 mark).
This gets you all of the above plus the five titles already on offer:
And the additional two ‘more than average’ titles:
All 9 games are available to install form the Ubuntu Software Center. Follow the instructions on the e-mail receipt sent to you after purchase to claim them this way.
On Thursday, 14th March and Friday, 15th March a number of app developers and Ubuntu SDK creators will get you started writing apps for Ubuntu on multiple devices. It’s surprisingly simple, and since the announcement we’ve seen many early adopters try out the SDK and the first apps up and running. The developers will answer your questions, talk about best practises and show you the power of the SDK.
Here a quick overview over the sessions which will be run:
How to join
Participating is easy: just head to ubuntuonair.com to watch the sessions on the schedule.
Videos will be available after the event, to ensure you can watch the content even if you couldn’t make it to the session you wanted.
You can ask your questions on the #ubuntu-app-devel IRC channel, which is also embedded on the Ubuntu on Air site for convenience.
An event timetable can be viewed by clicking the link below. Be sure to turn up if interested – and bring your friends and your questions too!here
File manager Nautilus and system utility Software Updater have been given new icons in the recent updates to Ubuntu 13.04.
‘Nautilus’ changes from a sole folder icon to an opened file cabinet that is full of folders – quite literally a file manager. Whether intentional or not, the subtle implication is one of greater space and more varied contents.
The Update Manager Software Updater emblem switches from a rather nondescript ‘package with upwards arrow’ to something more befitting: a circular dual-arrow round, reflecting the continual notion of app updates.
These changes aren’t unexpected, having been revealed, along with the new ‘BFB’ (ubuntu) button, late last year.3 down, 1 to go
With these two new icons joining the updated BFB, there is just one updated item to arrive in Raring: an update Software Center icon.
This is expected to arrive in the coming days, along with a flurry of criticism over the ‘A’ shown on its front…
Here’s some feel-good news to kick the day off with: Ubuntu GNOME has been officially accepted into the Ubuntu family.
Getting official ‘flavour’ status means that the project will now benefit from access to infrastructure support and technical publicity from Canonical and the Ubuntu community.
Originally called ‘GNOMEbuntu’ – until the GNOME Foundation said ‘change it’ – the Ubuntu GNOME project aims to provide users with as ‘pure’ a GNOME experience as possible on Ubuntu.
The next release, expected in April, will be based on GNOME 3.6, though GNOME 3.8 will be available for installation from a project-maintained PPA.
For the full announcement head on over to the Ubuntu GNOME Mailing List.
The Ubuntu Touch interface has been praised by many over these last few months – and it’s been more than justified.
But despite being designed around the same motifs and elements the Phone and Tablet look is slicker than its desktop counterpart.
With the recent announcement of Unity Next, the gulf between mobile and desktop Unity will lessen and the convergence among interfaces more seamless.
Don’t want to wait? Neither does DeviantArt user ~Aerilius.
Aiming to bridge the design divide now, Aerilius has created a set of replacement launcher assets (tile shapes, etc) to bring some of the phone’s swish stylings to the stale look of the desktop.
Ailirus is no stranger to Ubuntu theme work, having previously an Ambiance theme for WINE applications.How to Install Unity Touch Launcher Icons in Ubuntu 12.10 & 13.04
As Unity doesn’t have native theming capabilities installing the pack is a bit of a faff, and does need you to overwrite some core system files.
If you delete something you shouldn’t Unity will refuse to launch – so be careful if you intend to use it!
First things first: grab the .zip archive containing everything you need from the following link:
Once the archive has fully downloaded right-click on it and choose ‘extract here’.
Open a new Terminal window and enter the following command, inputting your root password where prompted:gksu nautilus /usr/share/unity
Make a back up of the folder named ’6′ (this is important – so don’t skip doing it!).
With backup made double-click on the folder named ’6′ and move its windows to one side of the screen.
Now open the extracted folder from earlier, also called ’6′, and move it to the opposite side of the screen. Select all (Ctrl+A) items inside it and drag them over into the other ’6′ folder.
Agree to overwrite existing files.
Changes are not instant, so you need to log out and back in before the new launcher assets take effect.
To reverse the changes run:gksu nautilus /usr/share/unity
Then move your backed-up copy of the original folder and its contents into the Unity folder.Leo | Tipform
The 12 Ubuntu Touch applications being built as part of the Core Apps Project are now available for installation on the Ubuntu desktop.
A daily PPA packaging up the latest code for each app during its development can be added to Ubuntu 12.10, and the apps launched from the Unity Dash.
While it’s early days for the apps so far (few actually do anything yet) the PPA gives enthusiasts and those not using Ubuntu Touch Prevew a way to check in on progress, and join the development and testing of apps.
As work proceeds on them chances are you’ll see them come to life. But for now, there’s not an awful lot to see.Ubuntu Touch Core Apps PPA This PPA contains development software. Bugs, crashes and general all-round-calamity can be expected.
To add the Core Apps Daily PPA you need to open a Terminal and run the following commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-touch-coreapps-drivers/daily sudo apt-get update
Now install the app(s) you want to toy around with by running:sudo apt-get install ubuntu-*-app
Replace * with the name of the app you want to install (e.g. filemanager, twitter, facebook, clock, calendar, weather etc).
A full list of core apps is available on this page.
Like myself, you may have an old, outdated piece of computing hardware lying around, a great use for it – besides being a dust collector – would be to turn it into a file/media sharing server.
“Server” brings up images of a zillion gaudy-coloured cables and water cooled racks of computers tucked away in some warehouse somewhere. However, a server is simply any computer that “serves” data to another computer and setting up such a thing is actually very simple:
So dig out your relic, plug it in (connect a gaudy Ethernet cable if you want) and, if not already done, download and install your favourite Ubuntu spin.
Next we’ll need to set up a protocol for our server to share files with. I chose Samba mainly for its cross-platform compatibility – i.e. with Windows, Android, etc. – as not all of the devices on my network are running Linux.
For the unfamiliar: Samba is the free software implementation of the SMB/CIFS protocol used for sharing files, printer access, among other things over a local network.Install & Set-up Samba
First things first, we’ll need to install Samba on the to-be server. Which can be done either from the Ubuntu Software Centre:
Or using the command line:sudo apt-get install samba
Once that’s complete, we’ll edit the system-wide Samba configuration to set up a new “share”. Run in a terminal:sudo gedit /etc/samba/smb.conf
This’ll open a lengthy text file, where you can use the following template to create a simple Samba share to append (replacing the values with your own, of course) and save.
Just a brief explanation of these options:
Of course, this is a configuration for a simple public share –public, as in anyone on the same network as would have access.
Also, do not edit any other elements of the config file unless you know what you’re doing.
Now after a reboot, your Samba share ought to be up and running.Connecting to Your New Server
In your favourite file manager you can access the server by browsing your local network –from the sidebar in Nautilus, for example– which would show all devices, including your newly created server, that are connected.
Alternatively in the location bar of your file browser you can enter the network address of the server:smb://<IP address or hostname of your server>/<share name>
There you have it, your very own file server. Personally, I have a few terabytes of external hard drives hooked up to an old laptop as a backup system and a host for my music, movies, etc. –serving as a media centre as well.
Further Samba information and help can be found on the Ubuntu Wiki:
New Unity-styled shutdown dialogs are gearing up to arrive in Ubuntu 13.04 – and boy do they look good!
The dialogs, which were originally designed for Ubuntu 12.04, provide Unity-themed prompts for the acts of shutting down, logging out, and rebooting your system.
When an item is selected from the Session menu one of the following two windows appears:
When the power button of the device is pressed a larger prompt with additional options appears, as developer Marco Trevisan, who has worked on the dialogs, demoes in the following video:
Like much of the Unity interface the dialog windows are ‘chameleonic’; the background colour of the window adapts to match the average colour of the desktop wallpaper.
Although a bit more testing is needed before these changes are pushed to the desktop they are looking like a dead cert for inclusion this time around.
Better late than never, eh?Screenshot credit: Brandon Schaefer
Last week’s sudden, but not unexpected, proposal to switch Ubuntu to a Rolling Release model brought with it a less-than-savoury suggestion: axing the April release of Ubuntu 13.04.
Canonical’s Rick Spencer argued, in his case for the rolling release model, that skipping it was important if Ubuntu plans to reach its goal of convergence – that is having ‘one OS’ running across multiple devices – by 14.04, expected in April 2014.
Ubuntu 13.04 was originally announced with an 18 month support period.Going Ahead With Caveats?
In a discussion at yesterday’s Ubuntu Developer Summit on the topic of Rolling Release, the minutiae effects that such a switch would have on the rest of Ubuntu were discussed.
While the session focused less around why to switch to a rolling release, and more about how to switch to a rolling release, the question of what happens to Ubuntu 13.04 – which already 4 months into development and fast approaching a feature freeze – was raised,
The options presented were:
Neither the first nor second suggestions were popular, but the third, in which released Ubuntu 13.04 as planned, but with a shorter support period and security-only updates, did seem to be the best compromise between the two at this late juncture.Decision Reached?
While no formal decision has been announced on the subject thus far, KDE’s Jonathan Riddell, who was present at the discussion, feels that enough ‘consensus’ was reached for Ubutnu 13.04 to ’go ahead on the schedule agreed at UDS last October.’
One hopes, for the communities sake if nothing else, that this is, indeed the case, but as switching to a rolling release is yet to be formally agreed to, it seems we’ll probably remain in limbo for a little while longer…
The Humble Bundle with Android 5 has just gone live.
Four titles, three of which are new to the Humble Bundle, are available to buy for whatever price you’re willing to pay.
But don’t let the title of the bundle fool you; despite ‘Android’ being in the title all of the games can be installed on Ubuntu through the Ubuntu Software Center, via direct download, or, for the first time on Linux through Steam.
The four titles on offer are:
Two extra games, one of which hasn’t been included in a previous offer, are available for those who pay more than the ‘average’ price.
Want in? Promotional video below, link to Humble Bundle below that.
Ubuntu’s default social client has been around for many years but depsite various revamps, UI changes, and re-writes it’s never quite shaken off the image of being slow, bloated, and unstable.
Hoping to change that perception – which hasn’t always been warranted – is a brand a new version of Gwibber rewritten in QML and making uses of a totally revamped backend called ‘Friends’.
Designed to leaner and meaner, Gwibber QML is touch-friendly, followings the Ubuntu Touch design guidelines, and offers features previously unavailable
You can see short demo of Gwibber QML (as i’m calling it for now) by hitting the button below.
Gwibber QML is still a sort of work in progress, so don’t judge it too harshly yet. But you won’t have to wait long until you can try it ou as Ken VanDine, the chief developer of Gwibber, is hoping to upload this shiny new version to Ubuntu 13.04 later this week…
In the first Voß demonstrates Mir runnong on Ubuntu Touch, replacing the ‘SurfaceFlinger’ compositor currently used.
It’s described as a ‘preview’, and is running solely on GLES:
In another video Unity is shown running using an ‘…in-session rootless X server that is integrated with Mir’ using the free driver stack.
It’s early days for Mir, and these videos are interesting to see (in as much as you can see it). Certainly a nice respite from the swamp of negativity currently bubbling up around the project… But more on that later.
I was pointed to the website of the ‘intermatrix u7′ on Google+. It bills itself as ‘the world’s first Ubuntu Tablet‘.
But before you part ways with your hard-earned cash, take a step back and consider what’s really on offer here.Drawbacks
The Intermatrix U7 website lists ‘October’ as the shipping date for the device. This is a wee bit disingenuous on their part.
Whilst October is the ‘target’ for the entry-level smartphone experience to arrive in Ubuntu, it is not the expected date for the Ubuntu Tablet interface.
Indeed, work on the tablet interface is expected to continue into 2014, with Mark Shuttleworth saying that spring 2014 is the most likely date we’ll start seeing tablets turn up on shelves.
That’s not to say that work on the tablet UI won’t be at a satisfactory level by October, but with Mir, and a boat-load of interface and app work to be done, it’s best not to presume it will be.
Then there’s the fluctuating price.
Currently the U7 is set at AU$299 but, according to the website, it is expected to increase in price at a later date. Luckily for you if you order now you get to lock in this super-cheap price.
That tugs on my cynicism like a dog on a trouser leg. Delve into the Terms & Conditions and you’ll learn:
Further more is the worrying assertion that, despite having charged your card the second you place your pre-order, you agree that:
Pushing aside my cynicism for a second, the specifications of the Intermatrix U7 do read like a Tablet capable of running Ubuntu Touch:
No word on battery life, but since all the above is ‘subject to change’ it probably wouldn’t mean much anyway.Summary
The Intermatrix U7 may well be a genuine product backed by a genuine company. But at barely a month post-tablet reveal, it’s a little too early to take cash upfront for something that won’t be available for potentially another year.
It is, of course, for you to judge. Hit the button below to visit the Intermatrix website to learn more.
Unity Next seeks to create a “converged Unity implementation” across desktop, TV, tablet, and phone by focusing on two main development features:
The Unity implementations as we know it are currently split between the Nux-based shell on the desktop and a Qt/QML implementation for all other form factors. After positive results from the use of Qt and QML on Ubuntu Touch and advances in OpenGL features in Qt5, it is no longer necessary to maintain Unity shells powered by different toolkits across the multiple form factors.Goals
The developers have three primary goals in mind:
With these in mind, resource usage, UI responsiveness, and a unified codebase are among the technical requirements that need to be addressed. Resource constraints will be especially important for low-end devices, but equally important for laptop and high-end enterprise tablet users needing an efficient desktop with a fluid UI experience.What’s on the way?
The unified codebase will also see the inclusion of several Ubuntu Touch features into the core Unity Next project. Fullscreen preferences will make it possible for applications to tell Unity whether to make the menubar stay visible or autohide whilst running in fullscreen mode. Stage hints will also offer applications a way to change capabilities when running in different “stages” in the Unity shell.
But aside from the integration of Ubuntu Touch components, the Unity shell as we know it will still function as it always has, with scopes and indicators still forming the core of extensibility.Roadmap
The Unity Next project is aiming for the first stages of integration with Mir in May of this year. Integrating “convergence items” is scheduled for July and a integrated Mir/Unity Next codebase is targeted for phone devices by October. Finally, Unity Next will be amongst the other projects that form the total convergence vision for 14.04.
More information on the Unity Next project is on the Ubuntu Wiki.
Canonical has today publicly confirmed that they are working on a new cross-platform displayer server for Ubuntu.
Called ‘Mir‘, the X Window Server replacement is tasked with ’enabling development of the next generation Unity’. Which, in yet another about-turn, is to be rebuilt in Qt/QML.
The news isn’t much of as surprise. Earlier this year Canonical’s Jono Bacon made several remarks in a Q&A session that hinted at the possibility of an alternative display manager.
’’…The simple reality is that X doesn’t meet those needs, Wayland doesn’t meet those needs.’
From looking at the commit log for Mir this opinion has been held since June last year, which is when work on Mir appears to have begun.Why Mir?
When Mark Shuttleworth set out his grand goal of Ubuntu being ‘convergent’ - running across mobiles, tablets, desktops and TVs – he also threw down a series of technical hurdles that would first have to be overcome. One of the steppest to clear was always going to be the choice of display server – the the part of the system that draws the UI, and user interaction with it, on screen.
Currently Ubuntu uses X.
X is efficient at doing what it does but it has a problem: it is built upon code that’s almost 30 years old. A mature code-base brings with it legacy support for features and functions that are no longer needed on modern desktops, much less phones and tablets.
Intending to address this is Wayland – a relatively new display protocol that integrates features (like compositing) directly into the display server rather than adding them on as an afterthought.
The choice facing Canonical was to adapt one of these existing display server technologies/protocols to work across form factors, but compromise on vision, or create their own one from scratch.
Canonical chose the latter., with Mir built specifically to meet the aims and goals of Unity.Task Ahead
The big task for Canonical going forward will be to persuade GPU vendors to invest in and support Mir.
Canonical say that they are ‘in contact with [and] working closely’ with graphics chips makers to support Mir and, perhaps more interestingly, ‘…distill a reusable and unified EGL-centric driver model that further eases display server development in general and keeps cross-platform use-cases in mind.”
But for now Mir is only able to run atop of free graphics drivers.When Will It Arrive?
From the Mir Spec on the Ubuntu WIki, Mir is intended to replace SurfaceFlinger, the Android display server used in the Ubuntu Touch images, at some point in the near future. with the desktop targeted after that.
There is a Staging PPA for Mir is also available.
Around May this year we should see the first useable demonstration of Mir with Unity Next (the ‘new’ Qt/Qml version of Unity) on Ubuntu Touch.
By April 2014, the date of the next LTS release, Canonical hope to achieved full convergence, with Mir and Unity Next running across all platforms.
For more information on Mir head to the Ubuntu Wiki.