Archive for February, 2009

Karmic Koala, Newest Member of the Ubuntu Menagerie

On February 20, Mark Shuttleworth introduced the Karmic Koala, the alliterative mascot for Ubuntu 9.10. Jaunty Jackalope (Ubuntu 9.04) is due out April 23; Karmic Koala is due out in October 2009.

One of Mark Shuttleworth’s plans with Karmic Koala is “to keep free software at the forefront of cloud computing by embracing the API’s of Amazon EC2, and making it easy for anyone to set up their own cloud using entirely open tools.” If you want to set up an EC2-style cloud of your own, the Eucalyptus project will enable you to create an EC2-style cloud on your own hardware. Eucalyptus has been uploaded to the universe repository and will be available in Jaunty but will be able to do even more in Karmic.

Shuttleworth and Ubuntu staff are following the development of kernel mode setting, which would provide a smooth and flicker-free startup. Options like Red Hat’s Plymouth will be considered for graphical boot on the cards that support it. Meanwhile the plan is for bootup to be swift. The goal for Jaunty on a netbook is 25 seconds – the goal for Karmic is even faster.

The desktop, Shuttleworth assures us, “will have a designer’s fingerprints all over it….” He continues, “Brown has served us well but the Koala is considering other options.”

Mark Shuttleworth and Ubuntu amaze me. Jaunty is in fine working fettle but not officially released – and here are already plans for the Jackalope’s successor!

Ubuntu Tweak 0.4.5 Has Been Released

TualatriX, the developer behind Ubuntu Tweak, has just announced the release of version 0.4.5. This comes about almost two months after the last release. Several improvements have been added, as well as new features:

Clean up old config files

If you often install and remove applications, there are probably a lot of outdated config files lying around your system. Now, Ubuntu Tweak’s Cleaner has had a new feature added: Clean Config. This can save you needing to remember to use apt-get with the –purge option, or remembering to go into Synaptic Package Manager to remove these files. Please see the screenshot below – all you have to do is click on Clear Config, under Applications > Package Clear.

Change in Preferences – Check update

If you do not update automatically via the repository, Ubuntu Tweak has a feature that checks for updates automatically. It can now be turned off, to give the user the choice.

Default Launch lets you access your most used function quickly

Let’s say your most commonly used function in Ubuntu Tweak is Cleaner. So, every time you launch Ubuntu Tweak to clean the system, you need to go to Application, let it expand, and then click Cleaner. Now, by setting the Default Launch for your most commonly used function, you will access it immediately, bypassing the Welcome page and other pages in between.

Signatures for all PPA sources

Launchpad PPA sources are the majority of Ubuntu Tweak’s third party sources. Now, the repositories are finally signed with keys. When you enable a PPA source in Ubuntu Tweak, it will import the key at the same time, adding to your computer security.

Help with debugging

Even Ubuntu Tweak is not perfect, alas! Something could go wrong while you are running it. Now, Ubuntu Tweak has the ability to catch the error message. If you want to help debug, you can copy the error message and report it.

The release tells how to add the apt-key for Ubuntu Tweak, and gives links to the versions available. These versions are for Hardy (covering Gutsy and older) and Intrepid.

Personal note

I am temporarily using Intrepid since my attempt to install the Nvidia-glx-180 driver fragged my implementation of Jaunty. Ubuntu Tweak will most likely be ready for Jaunty shortly before the official release.

Jaunty Alpha 4 Has Been Released

Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope Alpha 4 has been released. The Ubuntu release notes highlight the following changes:

The latest X.Org server, version 1.6, is now available in Jaunty.

Font size (dots per inch) settings will now be optimized based on your monitor’s capabilities, and will not default to 96 dpi. You can customize your dpi settings settings by going to System > Preferences > Appearance > Fonts > Details.

Jaunty Alpha 4 includes the 2.6.28-6.17 kernel based on Linux kernel

Alpha 4 also supports the option of installing on the new ext4 file system, although ext3 will remain the default.

Bugs are being fixed so rapidly in Jaunty that I am having a hard time keeping up with the revisions. I have no doubt that Jaunty Jackalope will be ready for its April 23 scheduled final release date.

Jaunty has been added to Medibuntu.

As of January 24, Jaunty Jackalope has been included among the versions of Ubuntu covered by the Medibuntu archive. Medibuntu is dedicated to distributing software such as Real Player or certain codecs that cannot be included in Ubuntu for various reasons, including patent, or legal restrictions in some areas.

Included among other things in the Medibuntu repositories are Adobe Acroread, Real Player, Google Earth and Skype.

The easiest way to add the Medibuntu repository for your version of Ubuntu is to go to System > Administration > Software Sources, click on Third-Party Software, and then add the following:

deb jaunty free non-free

replacing jaunty with your distribution name if you are, for instance, using intrepid or hardy.

Once you have included the new repository, make sure you go into System > Administration > Synaptic Manager and download the Medibuntu key. Then, you won’t get errors saying that the other things you download from Medibuntu can’t be authenticated.

Happy downloading!


February 2009

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