Ubuntu/Linux

Ubuntu 16.10 Won’t Use Unity 8 By Default


ubuntu convergence

Unity 8 will not ship as the default desktop in Ubuntu 16.10, the Ubuntu desktop team has said.
Yakkety Yak will ship the tried and trusty — or tired and dusty, depending on your point of view — Unity 7 desktop as the default desktop environment.
Unity 8 and Mir, both in active development, will be available as an ‘alternative session’. This, Ubuntu’s Will Cooke says, will let those who want to ‘kick the tyres’ on the next-gen desktop to do so easily, right from the login screen.
The plans were announced in the opening plenary of the Ubuntu Online Summit (UOS) which is being held this week through a series of Google Hangouts.

What to Expect in Ubuntu 16.10

desktop 2
Both Unity 8 and the Mir display server are to receive a significant amount of focus during the Ubuntu 16.10 development cycle.
Feature parity with Unity 7 is a stated aim, with improvements to multi-monitor handling, managing multiple windows in ‘desktop’ mode, and enabling copy and paste support i, XMir apps also targeted.
Other plans for the next development cycle include:
  • Porting Ubuntu UI Toolkit from QML to C++
  • Polishing the ‘converged’ desktop experience
  • Begin integration of Vulkan/Khronos driver support in Mir
  • Improved Snap experience in Ubuntu Software
  • Bringing Global Menu support to XApps on Unity 8
Developing…


Why Your Next Ubuntu Download Could Be a Lot Larger


Expect to see a larger Ubuntu desktop installation image size by the time the Yakkety Yak is released later this year. 
Ubuntu Developers are currently discussing a new size limit for the main distribution image, as well those of the distribution’s official flavours.
One flavour, Ubuntu Studio, even plans to increase its install image to the full DVD size of 4.7GB (so that it can offer a broader range of software out-of-the-box)!

Why Make ISO Images Larger?

1GB is the current size limit for Ubuntu, but it has creeped past this in recent releases. The current Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop .iso is 1.4GB, and some flavors are larger still.
Oversized images are more than annoying for people on slow connections: they bug developers too, as Canonical Steven Langasek explains:
“[Oversized images] generates daily emails to members of the release team and cdimage team, which then basically are seeing no follow-up because we know nobody cares about these limits but no one has set new ones.”
Taking the initiative, Langasek adds: “I’ve finally gone ahead and bumped the limit on Ubuntu desktop images to 2GB for a minimally-sized USB stick; this gives us a new limit that I think we will care about, while also leaving us headroom so we’re not constantly fighting it back down to the line.”
These (planned) changes will not affect other Ubuntu images, e.g., minimal, server, net install, etc.

Room for manoeuvre

Although the size limit for the Ubuntu 16.10 image is boosted to 2GB it doesn’t mean the image will actually be 2GB. The increase in space offers developers breathing room, not license to add bloat.
As Martin Wimpress, Ubuntu MATE lead, who backs the increase, says: “I would opt for 2GB as the limit for Ubuntu MATE, although we (sic) aiming to stay well below that.”
The size of the Ubuntu installation image is more important than you might think. Super-fast broadband is not ubiquitous in many parts of the world, and beyond the issue of speed limits some users are subject to measly data caps.
The larger the Ubuntu  installation image is the higher the barrier to entry to potential new users.
But it’s not simply a reason to stuff a bit more bloat into the images, as Martin Wimpress notes: “Ubuntu MATE followed the expanded language support that was added to Ubuntu. This added a few hundred MB to the iso size, for good reason and has been well received in the Ubuntu MATE community.”
Will a larger installation image affect you or anyone you know? Do you currently struggle to download the current over-sized images? 


You Can Now Install Snappy Apps through the Software app on Ubuntu 16.04


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS ships with several changes, including a new Software app and a new package format called Snappy. 
Today sees the former of the changes add support for the latter: you can now search, browse, install and remove Snap apps using the new Ubuntu Software app.
Prior to today’s update you needed to use the command line to install Snappy apps on Ubuntu 16.04.

Snap, Crackle, But Not Finished

Apologies; I hadn’t noticed the update currently only applies to those with xenial-proposed enabled. The package is not yet in the main Ubuntu archive.
As this is only the first stable-release-update of GNOME Software the Snappy backend implementation isn’t perfect.
For one, not every Snap available to install is shown, just those with a GUI.
When installing a Snap you’re asked to sign in with your Ubuntu One account. This isn’t a big deal as most of us have one (on the Ubuntu Phone you can’t install Touch apps without one). Snaps do not require Ubuntu One authentication when installed from the Terminal.
Finally there’s is no way to see only Snaps — a feature addition I suspect many curious users would like to see added.
To see a list of Snaps available to install you run:
sudo snap find
To install a Snap app you run:
sudo snap install name-of-app
And to install an update to an already installed Snap app:
sudo snap refresh name-of-app
Apps distributed in the new format are listed alongside apps from the regular repositories.
The new Snap backend allow “searching for a snap (e.g “hello-world”) and installing it should prompt for u1 credentials and successfully install.”

Can’t Install Third-Party Apps on Ubuntu 16.04? You’re Not Alone


Having trouble installing third-party .debs on Ubuntu 16.04?
You, my friend, are far from alone.
A huge number of you have pinged us about a big ol’ bug in the Xenial Xerus’ new Software app. A bug that leaves you unable to install popular apps like Steam, Google Chrome, and Nylas N1, using .deb files.
Double-clicking on a .deb installer opens the Software app as expected, but clicking the ‘install’ button does nothing.
A bug report has been lodged for the issue (link at the bottom) and explains that the issue: “…only seems to happen with third-party packages; installing a random deb from packages.ubuntu.com/xenial worked.”.
Richard, one of the (awesome) folks who gave us a heads-up about the bug, isn’t impressed though, telling us that he thinks: “it’s pretty sad that this happened for an LTS release, there are tons of users complaining about it.”
We agree.

A Fix For Sideloading .Deb Files Is Coming

The good news is that a fix for this annoying issue is, mercifully, on the way. A patched version of the gnome-software app should arrive through the usual Ubuntu update channels in the next few days.
It fixes side loading of local .debs and several other known issues:
  • Support apt://urls
  • Increase number of reviews shown from 10 to 30
  • Show version and size information for non-installed apps
  • Enable the Snappy backend
That last one is exciting, huh?

Workaround in the meantime

If you want/need to install third-party apps using .deb files right now there are workarounds while we wait for the fix. You can use a GUI app like Gdebi or the old Ubuntu Software Center (if you still have it).
You can also flex your fingers at the command line to install apps using the trusty dpkg command.
Say, for example, that you downloaded a .deb to your Downloads folder. To install it you would open a new Terminal session and type:
cd /Downloads

sudo dpkg -i awesome_new_app.deb

sudo apt-get -f install
You can keep an eye on the following bug to track the progress of the resolution (but resist the urge to comment with ‘me too’).


How To See Full Color Emoji on Linux

color-emoji-linux

We’ve shown you how to see emoji on Linux in the past, and previewed a new tool for copy and pasting emoji characters on Ubuntu.
But one “problem” has remained: Linux emoji appears as barely legible blank and white glyphs, be it in a tweet, a web article or an e-mail.
The bright, zany emoticons that most of us have come to expect are not available on Ubuntu.
Well, this problem is now almost solved.
A  new font allows you to see color emoji on Linux in Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird and other Gecko-based apps.

EmojiOne Color Font

Reader Nicolas tipped us to the EmojiOne Color Font project, an SVG-in-OpenType font. SVG-in-OT is a standard co-developed by Mozilla and Adobe, now part of the OpenType spec):
“SVG in Open Type […] allows font creators to embed complete SVG files within a font enabling full color and even animations. There are more details in the SVGinOT proposal and the OpenType SVG table specifications.”
monochrome emoji in chrome browserEmojiOne Color Font uses glyphs from the free Emoji One set (also used by the awesomeEmojiOne Picker app we featured last month).
It’s not yet a total solution to the black and white emoji issue. Coloured ideograms will display only in Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird and other Gecko-based apps.

Other apps, like Corebird, Google Chrome and Nylas N1, don’t support SVG-in-OT fonts and, as such, will only make use of monochrome characters.
But even monochromatic emoji look better with the EmojiOne font installed, resulting in a more consistent and uniform look than that offered by the fuzzy hairline glyphs in the fonts-symbola set.
“There’s everything you could expect from a recent Emoji theme, including ZWJ sequences, skin tones, and country flags,” says Nicolas, who has spent a great deal of time investigating ways to get full color Emoji support working on Linux.
“I believe this is the best solution right now.”
And we agree.

How to Install Color Emoji Font on Ubuntu


Although you shouldn’t experience issues by following this guide caution is nonetheless advised.
The following steps work without root, though you will need to create an override file.
First, download the font from GitHub by hitting the button below.
Unzip the archive.
Move the EmojiOneColor-SVGinOT.ttf file to your ~/home/.fonts folder.
You may first need to press CTRL+H to show hidden files, and if the ‘.fonts’ folder does not exist you can create it (remember to include the period at the beginning).
For the next part we’ll switch to the Terminal.
Create a fontconfig folder in the local config directory:
mkdir -p ~/.config/fontconfig/
Next, enter the following text into the terminal:
cat << 'EOF' > ~/.config/fontconfig/fonts.conf
Now paste the entirety of the following code into the Terminal:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE fontconfig SYSTEM "fonts.dtd">

<fontconfig>
  <!--
  Make Emoji One Color the initial fallback font for sans-serif, sans, and
  monospace. Override any specific requests for Apple Color Emoji.
  -->
  <match>
    <test name="family"><string>sans-serif</string></test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend" binding="strong">
      <string>Emoji One Color</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
  <match>
    <test name="family"><string>serif</string></test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend" binding="strong">
      <string>Emoji One Color</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
  <match>
    <test name="family"><string>monospace</string></test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend" binding="strong">
      <string>Emoji One Color</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
  <match>
    <test name="family"><string>Apple Color Emoji</string></test>
    <edit name="family" mode="prepend" binding="strong">
      <string>Emoji One Color</string>
    </edit>
  </match>
</fontconfig>
Enter the following command to save your config file and exit the editor:
EOF
Flush the font cache:
fc-cache -f -v
And, finally, to test the font is working you can open the following demo page in Firefox:

How to Disable Automatic Updates On Ubuntu

software-updater

For some, seeing automatic system update notifications appear on the desktop every day can be annoying. But you can turn off automatic software update checking on Ubuntu — and we’ll show you how.
First things first: disabling automatic update checking is not recommended. But there may be reasons why you either want to or need to control the process manually.
You may be intentionally holding back on a new version of a mission critical package or app;  you may be skipping a newer kernel release or driver update.
You may be trying to save bandwidth over a mobile or metered internet connection. Update checking can download as much as 300MB¹ over the course of a single month (depending on how which sources, archives and PPAs you have enabled).
software-and-updates
Whatever the reason you have, you don’t have to be bugged if you don’t want to.
For me, I manually check for and install updates through the command line every single day. It’s part of my workflow. The dpkg lock and lag the auto-updater causes — usually at the most inconvenient of times — bugs me.
So I turned auto updates off.
To disable automatic updates on Ubuntu:
  1. Open the Unity Dash
  2. Search for ‘Software & Updates’
  3. Select the ‘Updates’ tab.
  4. Change Automatically check for updates’ from ‘Daily’ to ‘Never‘.
This setting will stop the system from checking for ANY updates without your permission. Ergo, no more package update notifications in your face!
It’s important to note that this setting does not disable the ability to update. You can continue to check for and install updates manually, through the command line, or using the Software Updater tool.

Alternatives

Instead of disable checking for updates you could instead set the pop-up to only show when there are security updates.
Updates are important and stopping the system from automatically checking for and/or notifying you of pending updates isn’t advised. There are other ways of controlling which updates can (or can’t) be installed,.
For me, good ol’ apt-get update always gets the job done. You may prefer using the Kylin Software Center or another choice.
You can ‘apt-mark hold’ packages you don’t want updating, or ‘lock’ them through the Synaptic package manager.
¹Based on average ~13MB source list downloaded daily over 30 days. 

Try This Mac-Inspired ‘Notes’ Clone For Linux

notes-mac-clone-app-linux

Note taking apps for Linux are not hard to find.
The shelves of Ubuntu Software Center hosts ample stock, from basic on-screen sticky notes to complex, tag-based command-line clients.
But if you can’t find the lean, clean and easy to use note taking app of you dreams amongst them do take a look atNotes. 
“Notes is designed for whatever’s on your mind. Jot down your thoughts.”
Notes is a new open-source and cross-platform note taking app that has a simple, straight-forward appearance.
UI inspiration (obviously) comes from the Mac OS X Notes app, with the layout, button arrangement and faux-paper background all clearly borrowed from Cupertino’s client — heck, even the app icons are pretty similar!
But don’t let the Mac-ness of this app put you off trying it. Behind the unsightly traffic light window controls is an app that is actually pretty robust and very easy to use.
Features:
  • Clean design
  • Auto-saves notes
  • Fast search
  • Cross-platform & open-source
  • Supports keyboard shortcuts

Notes Versus Other Apps

First things first: Notes is not an Evernote alternative. It’s more of a jot-pad; a simple way to get ideas down without being compelled to categorise, tag and arrange them in to folders first.
FromScratch, an app that we covered recently, also excels as a jot pad but only lets you focus on one note at a time. Notes takes things to the next level, letting you store, read, edit and search multiple saved notes.
A powerful search feature lets you sift through the contents of saved notes ‘instantaneously’ and a range of keyboard shortcuts are available:
notes keyboard shortcuts
Against rival apps like GNOME Notes (aka Bijiben)Tomboy and Springseed, Notes holds up okay in its raw note taking but it does lacks some of its rivals more advanced features.
Notes falls short on its design (the Mac-esque window looks out of place on Linux and Windows) and on its super-basic text editing (it lacks support for bold, italic, bullet lists, etc).
The app also lacks sync support of any kind. Notes are stored locally rather than on a remote server (which is a plus for many) and you could always use Dropbox to back-up the local folder cache, but some kind of sync support would be easier to use through the app.

Download ‘Notes’ App for Ubuntu

To install Notes on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and later simply downloaded the pre-compiled .deb package from the official website (where you’ll also find RPM, source and binary packages for Windows and Mac OS X).

Finally: A Fix For Black Corners Around CSD Windows in Ubuntu


Window borders for apps using Client Side Decorations will soon look much better on Ubuntu.
Code implementing window corner radius support is finally headed to Unity.
If merged, the fix will solve the black corner issue affecting the appearance of every GTK3 application that uses CSD header bars running under Compiz & Unity. Squared-off corners have been a feature of CSD windows on Unity since Ubuntu 15.04.
Several default apps in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS use CSD (also known as GTKHeaderBar), including the Disks utility, the Deja Dup backup tool (thanks Aaron!) as well as the brand new desktop Calendar app that debuts in Xenial Xerus.
Other popular applications affected by black square window corners include GNOME Photos, Maps, Music & Weather apps, the Corebird Twitter client and GNOME Tweak Tool.
Applications that don’t natively use CSD (or that Ubuntu has patched to not use it, e.g., Nautilus, Videos) are notaffected by the issue.

Fix Coming Very Soon

The window corner fix has been proposed for merging into Unity. It’s described as
DecoratedWindow: move the shadow under the window if we've a client-side decorated window with corners
Once merged, and a new version of Unity pushed out to 16.04 testers, app window corners should once again render correctly, i.e. appear curved, not topped by small black triangles.
Will you be pleased to see this bug fixed?


Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 Is Now Available to Download

The first Ubuntu 16.04 beta builds are now available to download.
Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE — oooh-argh — and Ubuntu Kylin are among the official Ubuntu flavors to stick their hands up for inclusion in this development milestone.
The regular version of Ubuntu, i.e. the one most of you are waiting for, only takes part in the second beta release.
Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 2  is set for a March 24 release date.
For this bout of beta level testing the following Ubuntu flavors take part:
  • Lubuntu
  • Xubuntu 
  • Ubuntu MATE
  • Ubuntu GNOME
  • Ubuntu Kylin
Not taking part is Kubuntu.

What’s New in Ubuntu 16.04 Beta 1?

ubuntu kylin login screen
Ubuntu Kylin 16.04 Beta 1 improves on its alpha releases with a new version of the Youker assistant, a brand-new login screen (kylin-greeter, pictured) and benefits from general improvements to both the look and feel of the Kylin branding and theme.
Xubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 features a modest set of changes.
Testers of the lightweight spin will find new versions of key apps and components, including new versions of the Xfce 4 desktop, whisker menu applet and Orage calendar, plus support for controlling the Parole media player from the sound applet.
Ubuntu GNOME 16.04 Beta 1 features a more sizeable set of changes thanks to it shipping with ‘most of GNOME 3.18’, including GNOME Shell 3.18 and the new GNOME Software utility.
In line with Ubuntu, GNOME Calendar and GNOME Logs are now pre-installed, GNOME Builder is available through the main archive and an ‘experimental Wayland session’ is available to install (but keep it mind it requires open-source GPU drivers).
Lubuntu 16.04 Beta 1 ships with a massive set of changes — just kidding!
As always, Lubuntu ships with no new features. It does offer a selection of small bug fixes and benefits from being based on the Linux kernel (v4.4, fact fans).
A PPC version is also available, making Lubuntu perfect for resurrecting an old iBook, PowerMac or iMac. You could even don a lab coat and call yourself iVictor Lubuntkenstein.
ubuntu-mate-boutique
Last (but never least) is Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Beta 1.
The retro revivalist once against delivers an impressive changelog for its latest development snapshot.
On offer is a brand new ‘Software Boutique’ (accessed through an updated version of Ubuntu MATE Welcome tool). The MATE desktop has been bumped to v1.12.1 and includes Caja 1.12.4.
Fans (both literal and figuratively) will be pleased to hear that the updated desktop sees reduced CPU usage ‘across the board’.
Also included is a Unity-style MATE panel layout is available to try. Head to MATE’s appearance settings and select the ‘Mutiny’ panel layout to take it for a spin.

Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS Released, This Is What’s New


The fourth point release of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is now available to download.
Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS rolls together all of the app updates, bug fixes and security patches released to Trusty Tahr since the previous point release.
The new disc image reduces the number of post-installation updates that users need to download after install.

The Point of Point Releases in 3 Bullet Points:

  • Improve support for selected (and newer) hardware
  • Roll in stable updates to reduce download requirements on fresh install
  • Maintain stability
Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is supported until mid-2019 on desktop, server and core.
See our Ubuntu 14.04 LTS review for more details on the core features of Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

New Hardware Enablement Stack

Ubuntu 14.04.4 also includes an updated hardware enablement stack (HWE). This comprises of the Linux Kernel 4.2 and an updated X11 stack from Ubuntu 15.10 ‘Wily Werewolf’.
LTS users who installed from either the 14.04 or 14.04.1 disc images will need to manually opt-in to receive the new hardware enablement stack. This wiki post has full details on how to opt-in.
Among other notable app updates and fixes to ship in this re-spin:
  • A new version of oxide-qt, the engine powering the Ubuntu browser app
  • MTP support for the Bq Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone
  • Updated Facebook sharing key for Shotwell photo manager
  • Improved keyboard navigation in Unity Dash
  • Create desktop app shortcuts by dragging app icons off the Dash and on to the desktop
An exhaustive list of the changes, fixes and improvements rolled in can be found in the official release notes for this release.

Download Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS

A reminder that if you’re already running Ubuntu 14.04 you do not need to ‘do’ anything to get 14.04.4. It you’ve been installing updates to it since October, you’re already running it!
Ubuntu 14.04.4 LTS releases are also available for Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, and more.
If you’re having a hard time remembering the Trusty Tahr this release video from 2014 should bring you back up to speed.

How to Install Cinnamon 2.8 on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS


Numix Cinnamon Theme
The Cinnamon desktop environment has been at the fore of our recent posts as we track down the very best Cinnamon themes (don’t forget to vote for your winner, either!)
We’re putting the paint roller down for this post. Instead, we will show you how to install the latest stable release of Cinnamon on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Remains Widely Used

The poll in our Ubuntu 15.04 EOL post shows that a large percentage of you still trust the Trusty Tahr to be your desktop operating system.
And rightly so: Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is supported until 2019, gets new hardware enablement stack regularly, and is as rock solidly stable as it is familiar.
But using Trusty sometimes comes with a compromise. You’re sometimes stuck using old versions of popular software. Sometimes, like in the case of Cinnamon, there’s no version available at all.
Trusty users can upgrade to the latest stable release of the Cinnamon desktop environment. All it requires is one PPA added to Ubuntu Software Sources.

Cinnamon Stable PPA

The Cinnamon Stable PPA that I’m highlighting is maintained by a wonderful chap called Moorkai. It only contains Cinamon builds for 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 15.10
“Packages available here are provided “as-is”, Moorkai cautions in his PPA description.
“I will do my best to keep this PPA as up-to-date as possible, but expect not the update speed of [Linux distributions] …more like updates depending on my free time.”
Which is totally fair enough.

Cinnamon 2.8 — A Welcome Upgrade

Released late last year, Cinnamon 2.8 brings a bunch of bug fixes, new features and general performance improvements to the desktop.
Power applet in Cinnamon 2.8
Cinnamon 2.8: New Power Applet
Among the more user-visible changes:
  • A new audio applet with player controls, cover art and volume
  • Improved sound input/out applet
  • Support for Indicator Applets
  • Multi-monitor improvements
  • Window thumbnails in the task switcher
  • Power settings/applet displays manufacturer info
  • Redesigned workspace switcher applet
  • Modal dialogs attach to parent window
  • Faster logout
  • Nemo gains quick rename feature
  • Improved performance of calendar applet

Install Cinnamon 2.8 on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

Using third-party (i.e. unofficial) PPAs is not something to do idly. We’ve checked out the packages in this PPA and installed them. We haven’t noticed anything broken, but bear in mind that this PPA is not endorsed or support by Cinnamon developers.
For ultimate stability you should stick with whatever package version is available in the Ubuntu Archives. But Cinnamon is only available on Ubuntu 15.04 and later.
If you install Cinnamon and don’t like it don’t panic: we’ll show you how to remove it completely if you change your mind.

1. Add the Cinnamon Stable PPA

command-to-add-cinnamon-ppa
Open a new Terminal window using the Dash or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T.
Carefully enter the following command. This will add the Cinnamon Stable PPA to Ubuntu’s list of software sources.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:moorkai/cinnamon

2. Install Cinnamon from the PPA

command-to-install-cinnamon
Once added the next step is to refresh Ubuntu’s list of available packages, and install Cinnamon.
Enter the following command:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install cinnamon
Let all of the packages download and install. The time it takes to do this will vary depending on the speed of your internet connection and how fast your computer is.

3. Restart and Log in to Cinnamon

After installation has completed you can log out of Unity and into your new Cinnamon desktop.
session picker gif
Select Cinnamon from the Unity Greeter by clicking the Ubuntu icon beside your username, followed by Cinnamon from the list.
The Cinnamon desktop should now appear before you.

Going Further

See our older guide on ‘5 Easy Ways to Make Cinnamon Rock on Ubuntu‘ for ideas on ways to customise your new Cinnamon experience.
If you’d like to see a logo for Cinnamon in the session selector install the Unity Greeter Badges package.

Remove or Downgrade Cinnamon

downgrade-ppa-purge
To remove Cinnamon run:
sudo ppa-purge ppa:moorkai/cinnamon
Follow the on-screen instructions to safely downgrade package and remove the PPA.

Yosembiance GTK Theme Gives Ubuntu a Flatter, Sleeker Look


yosembiance gtk theme
Ubuntu’s default ‘Ambiance’ theme is almost as synonymous with the OS as the color orange, alliterative release names and Mark Shuttleworth’s tour around space. 
‘The theme is perfect for fans of Ambiance, but who want proper support for GTK3 apps’
But there’s no denying that Ambiance is starting to show it’s age. Only a few incremental tweaks have been kicked its way over the past few years.
And while it still looks okay considering, there’s a whiff of staleness about it. A staleness emphasised further by a shift in software design tastes over past few years.
Trend du jour eschews subtle gradient effects in favour of flat slabs of colour, but no-one’s told Ambrance is unaware.

‘The Perfect Balance of Old & New’

Enter ‘Yosembiance‘, a GTK theme created by Canadian Linux user Brian Sundman.
‘A theme that […] updates Ambiance to suit a modern aesthetic.’
First released in 2014, Yosembiance recently received an update to support new versions of Ubuntu and new GTK3 elements.
The end result is a theme that strikes the perfect middle ground. It updates Ambiance to a modern aesthetic, but retains the feel of Ubuntu through its color scheme, padding and widget styling.
The name is, as you’ve likely already guessed, a portmanteau combining Yosemite and Ambiance — but don’t let that put you off. Despite being “loosely inspired” by the look of Mac OS X Yosemite, the theme actually has precious little in common with Apple’s desktop OS aesthetic.
Because of this, the theme is perfect for fans of Ambiance and the identity it gives Ubuntu, but wrestle with the stock theme’s awkward handling of GTK3 apps and interface widgets.
Brian’s says his aim in crafting the theme was to “create something less tacky than the default Ubuntu Ambiance but still feel like Ubuntu.”
And on that note I think he succeeds.
Yosembiance won’t suit everyone’s tastes, naturally. But for those who like the Ubuntu identity Ambiance creates, it is well worth checking out.

Download Yosembiance GTK Theme

Yosembiance is a free download, available direct from Github:
To install the theme on Ubuntu 15.10 or 16.04:
Extract the .zip archive using File Roller (or your preferred archive utility).
From the extracted files cut, copy or move the ‘Yosembiance‘ directory to ~/.themes in your home folder.
If you can’t find it, create it — but remember to a) press CTRL+H to view hidden files first and b) make sure there’s a period preceding the folder name.
Finally, you’ll need use an app like Unity Tweak Tool to actually set Yosembiance theme as the default theme.
Don’t have Unity Tweak Tool? Install it from the Ubuntu Software Center:

GNOME Settings To Get a Major Design Overhaul


gnome settings redesign
One of the proposed redesigns of GNOME Settings
The GNOME settings app is to get a major design overhaul, GNOME designers and developers have revealed. 
The new design proposals will see the utility switch from a grid layout with fixed window size to one using a sidebar list and resizeable window frame.
As Ubuntu’s own setting utility is a fork of GNOME System Settings any made upstream could have a knock-on effect in it.
System Settings Window
Ubuntu System Settings also uses  a grid layout

But why the change?

GNOME designer Alan Day feels a grid layout is just too limiting, with each icon in the grid ‘competing for attention’.
“There are [also] other issues with the icon grid approach”, Alan Day explains, noting that it’s difficult for developers to add new settings and options to the app, and that some settings don’t work well with a fixed size window frame.
Switching to a sidebar list and using a resizable window will, Day reasons, give desktops user a ‘more guided experience’ with panels that feel more cohesive together and less like a “collection of separate parts.”
Redesigning the shell that houses settings also means redesigned the settings’ panes (some of which, as WHO points out, desperately need some TLC).
The ultimate aim is to “eliminate […] the overcomplexity of the settings for simple, common, cases” and make “more advanced settings […] easier to use, also.”
There’s no fixed timeline for the work, and much of it will remain subject to feedback and fine-tuning over the coming months.
But the first fruits of the redesign, a new Mouse and Touchpad settings panel, will be on show in GNOME 3.20 due for release in the Spring.

How You Can Help Test the New Ubuntu Software Center


Last November we shared the news that developers plan to drop the current Ubuntu Software Center from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and replace it with GNOME Software, an upstream alternative.
But anyone taking the Xenial Xerus for a pre-emptive spin since that news broke could be forgiven for thinking Canonical had changed their mind!
Not only is the “old” app store still installed by default, but its upstream replacement isn’t even available to install from the Xenial archive.
That changes today, as migration to and testing of GNOME Software and its package-kit backend begins.

Test GNOME Software in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

gnome software running on xenial xerus
If you’re a bug-hungry beta tester or just a plain ol’ nosey so-and-so, you can help test the Ubuntu software Center replacement on your own machine.
You need to a) be using Ubuntu 16.04 and b) be willing to add a PPA that has buggy, incomplete software.
Up for it?

Testing PPA for Xenial Users

Add the GNOME Software PPA to Software Sources, install the required packages, and then watch as the creaky old Ubuntu Software Center gets kicked in to the long grass by a leaner upstream replacement.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/gnome-software

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-software packagekit
This testing PPA holds PackageKit 1.0 and a patched version of GNOME Software that is able to pull in app reviews from the Ubuntu app servers.
(Once installed may need/want to run this script as root. This will fetch, populate and update the appstream data in the app. But please note: depending on when you read this article this step may no longer be necessary.)

Keep In Mind That This Is Still Work In Progress

Ubuntu One support for leaving reviews is a work-in-progress. You should expect missing features, application crashes and random bugs along the way.
Any kernel-crunching, hair-pulling errors you meet should get filed against the gnome-software package on Launchpad.

Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 1 Is Now Available for Testing

Xenial Xerus Release Schedule
The original Xenial Xerus Release Schedule pegged Alpha 1 for December

Alpha 1 in the Ubuntu 16.04 ‘Xenial Xerus’ development cycle is now available to download.
The release comes a few days later than was originally planned (December 31, 2015). Send ‘thanks’ on a postcard, c/o Christmas and New Year holidays.

A perfectly understandable delay and, perhaps, a perfect explanation as to why only three Ubuntu flavours participate in the Ubuntu 16.04 Alpha 1 milestone. They are: Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and China-orientated Ubuntu Kylin.
A second alpha, in which Ubuntu GNOME and Kubuntu are expected to participate, is due January 28th.

Alphas Aren’t For Everyone

Alpha releases are NOT intended for use in “production environments”; e.g., your main laptop, your work PC, etc.

Almost all of you reading this will know that. Alpha status means bugs, breakages, and incomplete features, and these test snapshots serve as an early technology preview of the next release and not a usable or dependable platform.

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Final will be released on April 21st, 2016 will receive ongoing security and critical bug fixes until 2021.

Lubuntu 16.04 Alpha 1

lubuntu ibook
Lubuntu 16.04 Supports PowerPC
Lubuntu 16.04 will NOT ship with LXQt. The long-promised perpetually-in-development desktop, a merger of the LXDE and Razor Qt desktop environments, is once again not stable enough to ship by default.

Instead, users of Xenial’s low-power alternative to regular Ubuntu will get the reliable and wholly familiar GTK-based LXDE desktop environment.

While this is good news for stability it does mean there is, once again, precious little beyond miscellaneous bug fixes, development toolchain and toolkit updates, and a small helping of recent-ish package upgrades to talk of.

(Though you can look forward to improved hardware compatibility in Linux Kernel 4.3.x.)
LXQt packages are available in Xenial’s archive however, so if you want to check out the progress of the next-gen desktop (and since other Linux distributions are already shipping it, it’s not a threadbare option) you can do so with a few choice commands in the LXTerminal app.

As Lubuntu LTS releases support PowerPC architectures this alpha is also available for PowerPC users.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Alpha 1

ubuntu mate logo
Also taking part is Ubuntu MATE, the popular Ubuntu spin for those who like Linux to be Linux-y.
Ubuntu MATE is (by clear margin) the most active flavour in the Ubuntu family. And the changes ready even in this early alpha shows there’s no sign of letup.

Ubuntu MATE 16.04 Alpha 1 offers a ‘revamped Ubuntu MATE welcome screen’ among other updates:
  • 5 New Community Wallpapers
  • Updated icons
  • New-look Ubuntu MATE Welcome utility
  •  Ubuntu MATE Settings updated to 16.04.x
  • MATE Tweak updated to v3.5.3
  • New recommended apps, including Redshift and Variety wallpaper slideshow
Although not part of the spun alpha 1 testing ISO those testers taking it for a trial run will receive an update to the new MATE 1.12 desktop sometime in the coming days.



Ubuntu Software Centre To Be Replaced in 16.04 LTS

The Ubuntu Software Centre is to be replaced in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
Users of the Xenial Xerus desktop will find that the familiar (and somewhat cumbersome) Ubuntu Software Centre is no longer available.
GNOME’s Software application will – according to current plans – take its place as the default and package management utility on the Unity 7-based desktop.
GNOME Software
GNOME Software
New plugins will be created to support the Software Centre’s ratings, reviews and paid app features as a result of the switch.
The decisions were taken at a recent desktop Sprint held at Canonical HQ in London.
“We are more confident in our ability to add support for Snaps to GNOME Software Centre (sic) than we are to Ubuntu Software Centre. And so, right now, it looks like we will be replacing [the USC] with GNOME Software Centre”, explains Ubuntu desktop manager Will Cooke at the Ubuntu Online Summit.
GNOME 3.18 stack will also be included in Ubuntu 16.04, with select app updates to GNOME 3.20 apps taken ‘as and when it makes sense’, adds Will Cooke.

Other Apps Being Dropped in Ubuntu 16.04

The Ubuntu Software Centre is not the only app set to be given the heave-ho in Xenial Xerus.
Disc burning utility Brasero and instant messaging app Empathy are also to be removed from the default install image.
Neither app is considered to be under active development, and with the march of laptops lacking optical drives and web and mobile-based chat services, they may also be seen as increasingly obsolete.
If you do have use for them don’t panic: both Brasero and Empathy will still be available to install on Ubuntu from the archives. 
It’s not all removals and replacements as one new desktop app is set be included by default: GNOME Calendar.
We recently ran a poll on Twitter asking how you install software on Ubuntu. The results suggest that few of you will mourn the passing of the incumbent Software Centre…
Which of these do you use to install software on ? via twitter


20%
80%

N1 Is A Beautiful Open Source Email App for Linux


Thunderbird, Evolution and Geary – three of the best known open-source email clients available on the Linux desktop.
Today a new app launched that will be hoping to join the list above, an app that promises to ‘create new experiences and workflows around email’.
N1 is a new open source e-mail app from Created by Nylas Inc., built using React, Flux, and Electron.
Like a web-browser or modern text editor, N1 is designed to be built on and improved through extensions.
The plugin architecture makes it easy for developers of all skills to add new features, from adding buttons to the composer view to new sidebars or even an entirely new user interface! N1 plugins can be written JavaScript, NodeJS, React, Flux, and Electron.
Not that everyone will want to expand the app; the core app appears to be as fully-featured as most will need, and the clean and uncluttered appearance keeps the focus where it needs to be: on the email, not the app.

N1 Email App – Which Services Does It Support?

nylas n1 email app
N1 supports major webmail services, including Gmail, Yahoo!, Hotmail and Yandex.
But unlike a traditional desktop email app N1 does not itself directly connect to a web-mail service using  standard IMAP or SMTP protocols.
By default N1 uses the Nylas API and open-source Sync Engine to handle mailsync operations on Nylas’ own cloud infrastructure.
In effect this means that all email you get in the app first passes through  – and is stored on – a Nylas server.
Understandably this is not something everyone will be comfortable with this. Concerned users can roll their own local version of the Sync Engine and API server to use N1 ‘isolated’.
Nylas’ modern APIs and Sync Engine work with a slate of existing email providers. This allows the app – not to mention any other app or tool built on the platform – to forgo, quote, ‘the complexity of working with old protocols like IMAP and MIME’.
The Nylas Sync Engine “[…] abstracts away IMAP, POP, and SMPT to serve your email on any provider through a modern, RESTful API.”
Sounds complicated but, in short, it means developers can create new mail experiences without needing to worry about legacy limitations.

Download N1 For Linux

N1 is a cross platform app with binary desktop builds for Mac and Linux (Windows is coming soon). The kicker? The app can currently only be downloaded on an invite-only basis.
With no invite of our own we can’t give you a more thorough overview of the app, its features or how well it runs on Ubuntu – but if you manage to snag a download for yourself (or have the patience to compile it from source) be sure to let us know what you think.

Here’s How You Can Help Improve Ubuntu Phone


Ubuntu Touch
Got an Ubuntu Phone? Want to help make it awesome? Well, now you can – and it doesn’t involve USB cables or scary terminal commands!
Pilot is a new app for Ubuntu Touch that provides a way for existing Ubuntu Phone owners “…to participate more directly in testing the software that runs on their device.”
Pilot tests
Pilot tests
For the first round of testing to be conducted via Pilot  four core apps are in the spotlight: Dekko, the soon-to-be default e-mail clients, Clock and Music apps, and the stock, rather hum-drum, Weather utility.

How To Take Part

To take part in the Pilot testing is simple enough. The only requirements are that you have an Ubuntu Phone, have some time to kill, and have an Ubuntu One account (needed to both install the app and submit results).
  1. Install Pilot from the Ubuntu Store scope
  2. Open the Pilot app from the App scope
  3. Press the  ‘Start Testing’ button
  4. Select the test(s) you wish to run
  5. Go through each test as directed
  6. Submit feedback/results/comments
Testing is not automatic. Any and all tests you select will need you to manually dive  into the each app and prod and poke settings (ergo don’t choose too many if you’re in a rush!).
Canonical’s Nicolas Skaggs says new tests will be added to the app over time via a software update. This, he says, will allow users to ‘test new things as they’re developed’ and bump the quality of the platform and its software for all users.
Do you plan to take part? How do you think Ubuntu Touch could be improved? Let us know in the whacking great comment space we’ve carved out below.

Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 Arrives With Unity Fixes, App Updates

The second beta of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf is now available to download.
This release serves as the second and final beta in theUbuntu 15.10 release schedule and is to be followed by a release candidate image on October 16.
Ubuntu 15.10, also known as by the codename Wily Werewolf, will be released officially on Thursday October 22, 2015.
But what’s new and improved? Let’s take a look.

What’s New in Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf

‘The Wily Werewolf sees Ubuntu undergo no major transformation’
Ready for the biggest shock of the year? There are no changes of the huge, ground shaking variety arriving with Ubuntu 15.10. If you can manage to scrape your jaw up off of the floor you’ll remember that, actually, this isn’t a surprise; Wily serves as another Ubuntu maintenance release in a long line of largely indistinguishable Ubuntu maintenance releases.
With Unity 8 and the march towards convergence this is, as it has been for the past three years, perfectly understandable. But it does mean that the Wily Werewolf sees Ubuntu undergo no major transformation. There’s no bone popping, shirt ripping or hair sprouting here; a new wallpaper and change in scollbar appearance is as metamorphic as this werewolf gets.
But that doesn’t mean it’s boring.

Unity 7.3.2

Ubuntu 15.10 is all about bug fixes, polish and small usability improvements to Unity. The former of these a teasing taste of a much bigger bug-fixing initiative due to take place ahead of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
The Unity desktop in Ubuntu 15.10 is updated to version 7.3.2 and features the following notable fixes:
  • Fix to stop it being possible to ‘shutdown’ computer when screen is locked
  • Fixes issue with maximised windows when clicking “show desktop”/”restore desktop” button
  • Active app icons now show unfolded when launcher accordion triggered
  • Fixes issues with ‘show desktop’ that caused window decoration for two windows of same app to vanish
  • Dash: Non-expandable category headers skipped in keyboard navigation
  • Dash: Non-expandable category headers are no longer highlighted on mouse over
  • New setting to control the show-now delay (when pressing Alt key)
  • Fixes a bug in earlier Wily builds where some app launcher icons were removed during an app upgrade
  • Logic tweak to stop adjacent menu opening when moving from an indicator icon to its menu

Compiz 0.9.12.2

The well-worn Compiz window manager that drives the Unity desktop also benefits from a bunch of bug fixes. It also adds a few new options to power users, including an option to manually select the background color for the app switcher and static app switcher (assuming you don’t like the default).

New Default Wallpaper

The Ubuntu 15.10 Default Desktop Wallpaper
The Ubuntu 15.10 Default Desktop Wallpaper
The only thing likely to leave long time users howling at the moon is the choice of default wallpaper which, rather like the OS, has undergone on the subtlest of transitions.
There are no currently no new ‘community contributed’ wallpapers to enjoy in this release. This is a slight surprise as the Ubuntu 15.10 wallpaper contest – renamed the ‘free culture showcase’ – attracted a modest 79 entries from roughly 40 participants.

Linux 4.2.1

Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 uses the 4.2.1 Linux kernel. This introduces hundreds of changes, the following highlights are particularly applicable to Ubuntu users:
  • Support for newer AMD GPUs
  • Further Intel Skylake CPU support
  • New drivers for Sensortek devices, e.g, accelerometers, ambient-light and proximity sensors
  • New drivers for various input devices, including recent Logitech mice
Linux Kernel 4.2 also includes less definable changes, e.g., bug fixes, performance tweaks for file systems, and performance  and power efficiency enhancements.

Persistent Network Interface Names

ubuntu-network menu
Network names are now persistent
If you’ve ever needed to get down and dirty with a network interface at the command line, through Conky or by way of a sensor applet, you’ll be familiar with the traditional way network interface names are assigned, e.g., ‘eth0’, ‘eth1’, ‘wlan0’, ‘wlan1’, etc.
These are assigned in an unpredictable and often unstable order on boot-up. Your super high-speed Wi-Fi dongle may be ‘wlan0’ on one boot, ‘wlan1’ on the next.
Ubuntu 15.10 introduces (by way of a udev update) stateless persistent network interface names. It’s a technical sounding change and one that, honestly, has little material significance to home users.
It allows interface names for network devices to be maintained across reboots, and even when network hardware is unplugged or removed entirely.
Stable interface names also persist after kernels or drivers are updated or changed. Best of all for network critical operations, the interface names are fully predictable and no longer assigned randomly.

Ubuntu Overlay Scrollbars

Unity overlay scrollbars have been dropped
Unity overlay scrollbars have been dropped
The way scrolling behaves in some applications has changed in Wily.
Ubuntu’s own overlay scrollbars (see image comparison to the left) have been removed in favour of GNOME’s.
We lose a thumb but we don’t lose any functionality.
The GNOME overlay scrollbars have been themed to look more like the Ubuntu designed ones they replace.

Core Application Updates

As every release does, Ubuntu 15.10 features a batch of updates to its core application set, including:
  • Firefox 41
  • Chromium 44
  • Nautilus (aka ‘Files’) 3.14.2
  • Totem (aka ‘Videos’) 3.16
  • Rhythmbox 3.2.1
  • GNOME Terminal 3.16
  • Eye of GNOME 3.16
  • Empathy 3.12.10
  • Shotwell 0.22

Download Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Ubuntu beta releases are not suitable for anyone in need of a stable system or uncomfortable with potential bugs and package breakages.
To download Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 head over to the official ISO downloads page by hitting the button below.

Ubuntu 15.10 Flavors: Beta 2 Downloads Now Available


Arriving alongside the main Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 release are beta candidates for the rest of the Ubuntu family. 
The change logs on offer for these releases vary. Some spins pack more significant changes than others, but all releases feature a stack of app and package updates, the new Linux kernel 4.2, and benefit from improvements and bug fixes.

Kubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Screenshot_2015-09-24_at_19
Kubuntu 15.10 Beta 2 is not too dissimilar to the first beta shipped last month. It offers the brand new Plasma 5.4 desktop environment, see our previous coverage for more details on all of the shiny stuff wrapped up in that, plus the latest point release of KDE Applications 15.08.

Lubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

lubuntu basic tile
If Ubuntu gets it in the neck for not evolving much while work on Unity 8 is on-going, spare a thought for fans of Lubuntu. The lightest Ubuntu distro has been in veritable stasis since 13.04, as work progresses on the new LxQt desktop environment.
The lack of major development in Lubuntu makes one of the changes arriving in this beta sound comparatively revolutionary:  Lubuntu 15.10 beta 2 removes the ‘extra sessions’ package.
This package provided users with bespoke shell tweaks, including a now archaic looking netbook UI and a stripped back gaming mode.
Fans of the extra session needn’t panic as it’s not gone entirely. If you liked what it offered you can it back easily. Just install ‘lubuntu-extra-sessions’ from the command line, log-out and everything will be as it was.
One package removal aside it is left to a few lonely bug fixes and theme tweaks to make up the bulk of this beta. The usual kernel, app and system updates provided by Ubuntu are also included.

Xubuntu 15.10 Beta 2

Although not quite as quiet as Lubuntu, Xubuntu is also taking things a little easier this cycle. Ardent Xubuntites will spot the following changes:
  • Panel back-up/restore switch, with 5 preset panel layouts
  • Accessibility icons for the window manager
  • Bug fixes, including a resolution for webcam’s not initialising in Mugshot
  • App updates, including new versions of MenuLibre and Catfish
While these are no huge updates on their own they are ones that build nicely upon the app updates featured inAugust’s beta release.

Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 Beta 2

Gnome 3.16 new theme
Fans of Ubuntu GNOME are in for a treat this October. The distribution is based on the GNOME 3.16 stack released in March, and makes full use of it, too.
GNOME Photos replaces the Shotwell photo manager. A not-too shocking decision given the aesthetic and system integration the former offers. Also installed by default is GNOME Music, an application we desperately want to love but can rarely get to work!
Bluez 5 handles bluetooth; there’s a new ‘getting started’ guide that runs on first login, and the Ubuntu Software Centre can now be used under the Adwaita Dark theme.
For those who like things of an experimental nature there’s also an entirely-optional (and potential buggy) wayland session available. The GNOME Wayland session will only work with open-source graphics drivers.

Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Beta 2

mate welcome screen in 1510
The new Mate Welcome Screen
The most recent addition to the Ubuntu family is sporting the biggest changeset of them all.
Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Beta 2 completes the migration to the MATE 1.10 desktop (and includes most components). It also features improved bluetooth, a new community wallpaper and improves the new ‘MATE Welcome’ app.
The welcome app collates a bunch of useful information, including some neat app suggestions, all in once place.
It’s a great addition to the MATE desktop and should make using the distribution easier for new users — it may even teach experienced ones something new!
For a reminder of upcoming Ubuntu release dates refer to our handy infographic.
ubuntu 15.10 wily werewolf release schedule graphic

Meet The New Ubuntu 15.10 Default Wallpaper


The brand new default wallpaper for Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf has been unveiled. 
At first glance you may find little has changed from the origami-inspired ‘Suru’ design shipped with April’s release of Ubuntu 15.04. But look closer and you’ll see that the new default background does feature some subtle differences.
For one it looks much lighter, helped by an orange glow emanating from the upper-left of the image. The angular folds and sections remain, but with the addition of blocky, rectangular sections.
The new background has been designed by Canonical Design Team member Alex Milazzo.
The Ubuntu 15.10 Default Desktop Wallpaper
The Ubuntu 15.10 default desktop wallpaper
And just to show that there is a change, here is the Ubuntu 15.04 default wallpaper for comparison:
suru desktop wallpaper ubuntu vivid
The Ubuntu 15.04 default desktop wallpaper

Download Ubuntu 15.10 Wallpaper

If you’re running daily builds of Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf and don’t yet see this as your default wallpaper you’ve no broken anything: the design has been unveiled but is, as of writing, yet to be packaged and uploaded to Wily itself.
You don’t have to wait until October to use the new design as your desktop background. You can download the wallpaper in a huge HiDPI display friendly 4096×2304 resolution by hitting the button below.
Finally, as we say this every time there’s a new wallpaper, you don’t have to care about the minutiae of distribution branding and design. If the new wallpaper is not to your tastes or you never keep it you can, as ever, easily change it — this isn’t the Ubuntu Phone after all!
Are you a fan of the refreshed look? Let us know in the comments below. 

Intel Graphics Installer for Linux Adds Support for Ubuntu 15.04


intel logotype
A new release of the Intel Graphics Installer for Linux is now available for download.
The tool, made by the Intel Open-Source Group, gives Linux users an easy way to install the latest Intel graphics drivers on Ubuntu and other supported Linux distributions.
Intel say using the tool to install the latest Intel Graphics Stack helps “ensure the best user experience with your Intel graphics hardware”.
Earlier versions of the tool were blighted by issues that often hosed entire systems. So, starting last year, Intel no longer upgrades the xserver-xorg package on Ubuntu or Fedora desktops.

Intel Graphics Installer 1.2.0 Now Supports Vivid

intel-driver-update-utility-unity
Graphics, yo.
Version 1.2.0 of the Intel Graphics Installer adds support for Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet and drops support for Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn.
And when we say it ‘drops support’ we really do mean it. Unlike previous releases, where  older versions were moved into a semi-supported ‘deprecated’ status, Intel say this tool will ‘not function correctly’ on Utopic Unicorn desktops.
But if you’re running Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet you can make full use of the tool and upgrade to the very latest Intel Graphics Stack.

Intel Graphics Stack 2015Q2

The Intel Graphics Stack 2015Q2 contains (as always) a massive set of bug fixes, feature enhancements and general improvements to the standard Intel Linux 2D and 3D drivers.
Among them:
  • Broadwell and CherryView CPU support now stable
  • Write-combine CPU memory support
  • Dual-link DSI support
  • Faster GPU progress tracking
  • Improved Engine initialisation code
  • On going Skylake preparation
  • VP9 decoding support (Intel-vaapi-driver)
  • HEVC encoding support (Intel-vaapi-driver)
To download the installer, find a list of supported hardware, or for links to further information on this release, head over to the Intel Open Source Group project website.

How To Watch Hulu on Ubuntu 14.04 and Up


Want to know how to watch Hulu on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and up? 
Well, we’re going to show you.
American streaming service Hulu uses Adobe Flash to play video in the browser — and uses Adobe Flash DRM to encrypt it.
Adobe Flash DRM uses a library called HAL (‘Hardware Abstraction Layer’) to identify your computer, fetch a token and ‘allow’ playback.
The problem? Ubuntu no longer includes HAL by default nor in the Ubuntu Archive. Sites that use Flash DRM don’t work on Ubuntu out of the box.

This article is not a treatise on DRM or Adobe Flash. It’s a tutorial to let those who want to watch Hulu on Ubuntu do so.
If you’re using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS or later you will need to install HAL from a third-party PPA to watch Hulu movies and TV shows on Ubuntu.

Install HAL on Ubuntu To Watch Hulu & Amazon Instant

We’re going to walk you through adding Martin Wimpress’ HAL-flash PPA and not the more commonly suggestedzombie HAL repository that is maintained by Michael Blennerhassett.
Why?
In short because a full-fat, fully functional HAL layer is not needed in Ubuntu (nor most modern Linux distributions). The smaller Hal-flash package provides you with everything you need to play Flash DRM content on Ubuntu and without the overhead (read: cruft) installed with the full Hal library set.

1. Add the Ubuntu Hal PPA

The cleanest way to install HAL on Ubuntu is through a third-party repository or personal package archive (PPA). And the fastest way to add a PPA is using the Terminal.
If using the command line is too intimidating a task you can do it the GUI way (though if you’re scared by the command line you probably shouldn’t be adding libraries from third-party PPAs).
Copy and paste the following command into the terminal, and enter your user password when prompted:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:flexiondotorg/hal-flash
When complete, move on to the next step.

2. Install HAL

Having added the PPA you now need to install HAL. We will use the Terminal to do this:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install libhal1-flash
Allow the process to fully complete. Then reboot your system. This is not strictly necessary but is advised to ensure that browser and plugin processes quit correctly.

3. Watch Hulu on Ubuntu

With Hal installed all that’s left to do is watch some content! Open the Hulu website in your browser, log in with your account details and select a TV show or movie to stream.
Note: as I am in the UK I am unable to test hal-flash with Hulu personally but I am told this should work. 

How to Upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04


gnome-316
Wondering how to upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04?  Well, we’re here to show you how (should you want to).
Stable though the latest release of GNOME is, upgrading to it in the latest Ubuntu is not without drawbacks.
Before we get started let’s recap why.

Why GNOME 3.16 Isn’t Included in Ubuntu 15.04

The stable release of GNOME 3.16 arrived in March.
It comes with a bunch of neat app updates, a new look ‘shell’ and a slick new notification center. All great stuff, but all arriving too late in the Ubuntu development cycle to be included by default in Ubuntu 15.04.
Gnome-Unity-Logo
Since GNOME is an intrinsic part of the regular Unity desktop used by millions around the around the decision was made to stick with the older, but thoroughly tested, GNOME 3.14 release.
You can, should want to you, upgrade GNOME 3.14 to 3.16 in Ubuntu — but it’s not recommended.
Upgrading GNOME involves more than a few apps and icon themes. You are swapping out older, well tested components of your operating system for newer, largely untested replacements.
If you’re entomophobic (a fancy word for being scared of bugs) or hate software headaches (no fancy word for that) this tutorial is not for you.
To repeat: you can upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04 but it is not recommended and may not give stable, reliable experience at the end.
Understood?

How to Upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04

gnome-viewer
To follow this guide correctly you need to be already running GNOME 3.14 on your desktop, ideally the latest release of Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 (which ships it by default).
You can upgrade from regular versions of Ubuntu 15.04 too, but, and I cannot lie as it is a big but, following this guide could break the Unity desktop entirely.
Unity users should install the GNOME-Shell desktop before continuing.
Those running older versions of Ubuntu, like 14.10 or 14.04 LTS, cannot upgrade to GNOME 3.16 by following this guide.

1. Add the GNOME 3 Staging PPA

To upgrade we will add the GNOME 3 Staging PPA. This archive is experimental-ish and contains most of the various 3.16 packages needed to perform an upgrade, albeit in a somewhat untested state.
Do not add this PPA  if you are requiring a stable system, if you’re someone who hates the command line, or do not feel confident in fixing broken or conflicting packages.
The GNOME 3 Staging PPA comes with no guarantees, as the archive maintainers note with this caution:
“The packages [in this PPA] have been deemed not ready for general use, they have known bugs and/or regressions, sometimes of a critical nature. Mostly things should run smoothly but be prepared to use ppa-purge, when you encounter issues!”
The regular GNOME 3 PPA is more reliable, and packages within it are considered “stable”. This PPA may, at some point, host the exact GNOME 3.16 packages currently in staging (usually the plan, but sometimes they just remain in staging).
But before we add either PPA let’s do one last check for (and install any available) outstanding distribution updates:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y
With that done we can add the regular GNOME 3 PPA and the GNOME 3 Staging PPA to Ubuntu Software Sources.
The fastest way to do this is by entering the following commands in the Terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3

2. Upgrade GNOME

Having added the various PPAs we’ll need the next step is to upgrade GNOME 3 itself.
Take a deep breath and run the following command:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-session
Pay attention to any notices that appear in the terminal after running this command. Based on your level of understanding of what you see, decide whether you want to proceed
If you’re happy to give the upgrade the nod by hitting enter.
The install/upgrade process will begin.

Greeted By a Greeter Picker?

change display manager ubuntuIf you’re not running Ubuntu GNOME you will, at some point during the install/upgrade process, be asked to choose a “default display manager” from a list.
The “display manager” handles the login screen experience.
For a pure GNOME experience use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the ‘GDM’ (GNOME Display Manager) entry from the list that shows, and hit enter.
For the stock Ubuntu login screen select ‘lightdm’ (Light Display Manager) and hit enter.
Don’t panic if you select the wrong login manager. You can change the default Ubuntu login manager at any time by using the following command:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

When Done, Reboot

sessions
When GNOME 3.16 has finished installing and/or upgrading you will want to restart your computer.
This is needed to make sure the new packages installed  take effect, like the display manager, for example.
If you install or upgrade from a non-GNOME desktop session don’t forget to select the GNOME session from the login screen. 
That’s it. You should now be running a (mostly) GNOME 3.16 experience on Ubuntu.
But we can go a bit further, too.

Install Some GNOME Apps

Ubuntu GNOME ships with a bunch of GNOME apps by default, but not all. Ubuntu ships with almost none. T
The following command installs a few essentials, including Polari (IRC client), GNOME Maps (desktop mapping app) and Web (lightweight web-browser):
sudo apt-get install polari gnome-music gnome-photos gnome-maps gnome-weather epiphany-browser
There are more than this available but these should give you a

How To Downgrade from GNOME 3.16 to 3.14

Remember what I said about this upgrade not being recommended? You do? Good.
If you encounter significant problems with your system after installing GNOME 3.16 you can use the PPA Purge tool to remove the Staging PPA and all of its packages:
sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
Lastly, rid yourself of the standard GNOME 3 PPA:
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
Reboot and you should be back to the “stock” version of the GNOME desktop in Ubuntu 15.04.

Ubuntu Phone Is Now Available To Buy In India


You can now buy the Ubuntu Phone in India.
Retail giant Snapdeal is selling two Ubuntu Phones made by Bq Readers through its website. It is the first major international retailer to stock the Ubuntu Phone. 
The two handsets aren’t new, and have been available to buy in Europe for several months:
  • Bq Aquaris E4.5 – MSRP ₹11,999
  • Bq Aquaris E5 – MSRP ₹13,999
Bq already ships its devices internationally, including to mainland Europe and the US (though bandwidth issues in the US means there’s little incentive as the phones only operate on 2G). The company also plan to begin shipping to Russia later this month.
Snapdeal sell a 4G Android 5.1 phone for only Rs 4,999 ($75)
Both Ubuntu phones are comparatively under powered when viewed against newer, often cheaper, mid-range Android phones. You can, for example, buy a Moto G 3rd Gen on Snapdeal for Rs 13,999, an ASUS Zen 5 for Rs 10,499 or nab a dual-sim, 4G-equipped ‘Yu Yunique’ running Android 5.1 for Rs 4,999 (roughly $75).
But regardless of the value for money on paper, both of these Bq phones handle the Ubuntu Phone OS well enough for texting, calls and basic web-browsing. There’s a small but growing set of native apps available on the Ubuntu store, plus hundreds of web bookmarks and scopes.

Specs

The Bq Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Edition went on sale in Europe back in June and features a bigger screen, more storage and better cameras than the smaller E4.5 — but both phones have the same core hardware specifications.

Aquaris E5

  • 5-inch IPS screen (1280 x 720 pixels, 294 ppi)
  • MediaTek MT6582 CPU @ 1.3 GHz (quad-core)
  • 16GB eMMC storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 13 MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing
  • 2500 mAh battery

Aquaris E4.5

  • 4.5-inch IPS screen (540×960, 240 ppi)
  • MediaTek MT6582 CPU @ 1.3GHz (quad-core)
  • 8GB eMMC Storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8 MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing
  • 2150 mAh battery
Unlike the Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Phone which is stuck at 16GB storage, both the Bq devices have an SD card slotto allow you to expand storage.
bq e5 india

Ubuntu Phone, India Style

The phone experience is customised, with Indian-specific news and entertainment content in the Today, News and Music scopes.
There’s also a Bollywood Scope (pictured below) pre-installed, plus scopes for Indian news services NDTV and TOI. Canonical hope to find more sources over time to ‘further develop’ the content experience for India buyers.
ubuntu phone india
As a primarily a web-centric phone OS built around web-apps and Scopes that pull data from online sources, the Ubuntu Phone works best with strong 3G coverage and a good data plan and/or a stable Wi-Fi connection.

Ubuntu Phone India FAQ

Where Can I Buy It?

Online retailer Snapdeal stocks both of the Bq Aquaris Ubuntu devices directly through their website. There are no flash sale or invite gimmicks.

How Much Does the Ubuntu Phone Cost?

It depends on which handset you buy.
The 5-inch, 16GB Bq Aquaris E5 costs from MSRP ₹13,999 (excluding shipping or other fees).
The 4.5-inch, 8GB Bq Aquaris E4.5 costs from MSRP ₹11, 999 (excluding shipping or other fees).

These are Android Phones, right? Can I Flash Android to the Ubuntu version?

Yes. Bq devices are easy to unlock and since hardware is identical on the Ubuntu and Android editions you can able “flash” an Android recovery image to your device. You won’t be able to see the Android navigation keys on the lower bezel of the handset, but they will work when pressed.
If attempting this do be aware that you may brick your device and flashing may fall outside of any warranty you may have.

How to Install Visual Studio Code in Ubuntu


A fair chunk of you will know that Microsoft — no hissing at the back — has released a cross-platform code editor that runs on Linux (as well as Mac OS X and Windows).
Announced at the Build 2015 event, Microsoft has launched a desktop code editing application on Linux called Visual Studio Code.
(If you didn’t know then I apologise for making you spray coffee all over your laptop.)
In this post we’ll take a quick look at what it is and how you can install it in Ubuntu.

Visual Studio Code for Linux

Visual Studio Code has been been built using a mix of web-based and open-source technologies, like Chromium and GitHub’s Electron app framework, and Microsoft’s own Monaco editor.
Visual Studio CodeThe tool is a code editor first and foremost. It is not a fully fledged IDE (Integrated Development Environment) like its namesake Visual Studio.
But that’s the point; a score of OMG! Ubuntu! readers already use regular code editors, like Sublime Text and GitHub’s Atom to make or edit apps and websites. It’s these folks that Microsoft is pitching Visual Studio Code for Linux at.

Features

Visual Studio Code supports full syntax coloring and highlighting, bracket matching and linting, plus keyboard bindings and snippets.
It also provides Github integration, similar to that found in Google’s Chrome Dev Editor, and IntelliSense support powered by open-source projects for faster working (e.g., typo correction, auto-completion, etc) with supported
Among the 30 or so programming languages currently supported by Visual Studio Code are:
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • C++
  • PHP
  • Java
  • HTML
  • Markdown
  • SASS
  • JSON
  • Python
Keep the ‘alpha-status’ in mind when testing and keep an ear out for word on more features (like plugin support) as and when they arrive over the coming months.

How to Install Visual Studio Code in Ubuntu

Visual Studio Code is currently in preview (read; possibly buggy, missing features, etc) and is available to download for free on Windows, Mac and Linux.
The Linux download is provided as a distro-agnostic 64-bit binary (not an installer). It runs from its own folder.
Visual Studio Code for Linux is also available to install using Ubuntu Make, Canonical’s handy set of command-line tools for quickly installing a raft of IDEs and developer doo-dahs, zero fuss.
To install Visual Studio Code in Ubuntu (14.04 through 15.04) using Ubuntu Make you need to run the following commands in a new Terminal window.  The first adds the PPA, the second installs the tool, the third installs Visual Studio Code itself.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/ubuntu-make
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntu-make
umake web visual-studio-code

A Good Move for Everyone

‘Microsoft seems to accept that the right tool for the job is not always one of its own’
The launch of Visual Studio Code on Linux will surprise some, excite others and, naturally, enrage a few (hey, we all know someone who has nothing but caps-lock outrage for Microsoft whatever they do).
As with the open-sourcing of server-side .Net Core last year, despite the cynical sneers aimed at it, the launch of a cross-platform code creator, debugger and compiler is good news. It’s another step in the right direction for Satya Nadella’s pragmatic Microsoft.
Pragmatic in that the company is now willing to engage with competing platforms — something its now in its own interest to do — but is also increasingly accepting of the fact that the right tool for the job is not always one of its own.
Microsoft’s continued partnerships with Canonical in the cloud, on the Internet of Things and with first-class Linux support on Azure shows this willingness. Through gritted teeth? Maybe. But it now accepts this “new world order” where open-source and Linux are not just equal players, but innovators driving progress.
The wilfully paranoid won’t be placated by this gesture, but for the millions of Linux developers looking to ‘get stuff done’ Visual Studio Code is yet another powerful on an already powerful development platform.
Where the code they create using it ends up is by the by. 

Canonical Explain Why Ubuntu Is A Better Choice Than Windows 10


Canonical say businesses who switch to Ubuntu could save as much as 70 percent versus the cost of upgrading to Windows 10.
In a blog post titled ‘Windows 10: Is it finally time to migrate to Ubuntu?‘, the company posit that sticking with Windows would be the ‘comfortable next move’ for businesses to make – but not necessarily the ‘best choice’.
Migrating to Ubuntu could reduce ‘royalty, maintenance and training costs for users’ by up to 70 percent
Migrating to Ubuntu could reduce “royalty, maintenance and training costs for users” by up to 70 percent, Canonical claim, and say the “[…] the heavy resource constraints on devices and meatier royalty fees have turned off even the most fervent Windows followers.”
Not to mention the (slightly overhyped) privacy issues.
“This is probably the best possible time to take a closer look at other choices.”

Time Is Ripe For Alternatives

The good news for Canonical is they’re not alone in upping the ante in the face of a resurgent Microsoft.
Dell has unveiled a brand new Chromebook that has been designed specifically to meet the needs of business, with feedback shaping both the hardware and software. Industry analysts are also expecting to see increased uptake of Chrome OS by businesses, especially as more mission critical tasks are offloaded to the cloud and legacy needs are handled by virtualization. Chromebook’s inherent security also
All areas where Ubuntu has plenty to offer, too.
Microsoft this week announced that Windows 10 is now running on more 75 million PCs around the world, though it did not divulge how many are home users versus businesses.
In 2011 Canonical announced its goal was to have more than 200 million Ubuntu users by 2015. The recent launch of Ubuntu Snappy and Ubuntu for phones make that goal sound more plausible today than it did four years ago.
A handful of businesses opting to bypass Windows 10 in favour of Ubuntu? Well, it won’t help hit that goal overnight but it certainly wouldn’t hurt.
But based on data from industry firm Gartner, who say businesses are “interested in going ahead with Windows 10 in much bigger numbers than we saw with Windows 7 six years ago”, it may take more than a blog post to win ’em over.
It’s important to note that the blog post in question is not targeted at home users, for whom the vast majority are eligible for a free in-place upgrade to Windows 10 and have few (if any) support or licensing considerations. 

Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 1 Is Now Available to Download


The first beta releases in the Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf development cycle are now available for download.
Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu are among the spins taking advantage of this development stop-gap.
The regular version of Ubuntu sits this round out and will issue its first, and only, beta snapshot next month.
Scroll on down to get a digest of what’s new in Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 1 flavours and to grab yourself an .iso image to trial out.

What’s New in Ubuntu 15.10 Beta 1?

new plasma desktop
The array of changes put forward by the Ubuntu family differs dramatically between releases.
Kubuntu 15.10 Beta 1 features the biggest set of changes. It offers the shiny new Plasma 5.4 desktop as default (see our earlier post for more on what that brings) and offers the latest KDE Applications 15.08 suite.
Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 Beta 1 offers much of the latest GNOME 3.16 stack – enjoy it while it’s current, as 3.18 is on the way!. You get GNOME-Shell 3.16, a stack of GNOME 3.16 applications, a new GNOME getting started guide and GNOME Photos installed by default (Shotwell remains available).
Lubuntu 15.10 Beta 1 sees only minimal bug fixes applied. Once again, all development effort is focused on getting the new LxQt desktop ship-shape in time for its tentative use as Lubuntu default in October 2016.
Xubuntu 15.10 Beta 1 swaps hardy office stalwart Abiword with LibreOffice Writer, something some have long considered overdue. It also ships updates for a sizeable set of the default Xubuntu app stack, including new versions of gMusicBrowser, LightDM-GTK-Greeter and the nimble Thunar file manager.
Finally, Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Beta 1 bumps the MATE desktop to version 1.10 (“mostly”), offers a refreshed MATE welcome tool, a new version of the helpful MATE Tweak Tool and integrates Deja Dup backup into the Caja file manager.

Beta = bugs

Beta releases of Ubuntu are not suitable for use as your default OS as the likelihood of bugs, breakages and other potential headaches remains high.
Ubuntu 15.10 final will be available to download on October 22, 2015.
ubuntu 15.10 wily werewolf release schedule graphic

Unity At Last: Unity 3D Games Editor Is Now Available on Linux


unity-3d-linux
Unity, the well known engine powering some of the world’s most popular games, has launched an experimental version of its games editor on Linux. 
Although anticipated for some time, the Unity for Linux is strictly a tech preview. Future support is not guaranteed.
It also lacks a few of the bells and whistles that its Windows and Mac kin are famed for, including support for importing models from third-party apps.
But every journey has to start somewhere.

Unity for Linux

Unity is described as a ‘flexible and powerful development platform for creating multi-platform games’.
Unity Technologies offer the editor free though software purists should note that it is not open source.
The decision of whether the preview passes beyond this technical preview and into something the company can ‘sustain as an official port alongside [the] Mac and Windows editors’ depends on several factors: how well the Linux community receive the preview, the number and scale of issues they unearth while using it, and, ultimately, how big the support burden to maintain it is.
It’s worth noting that the Unity 3D run-time, the bit that allows games made with the editor to run, launched on Linux back in 2012 (initially as a preview). The ‘support burden’ for this, Unity say, was low.
Based on Unity 5.1.0f3, the native Unity Linux editor allows developers to export to the following run-times:
  • Windows, Mac, Linux Standalone (Unity-based)
  • WebGL
  • WebPlayer
  • Android
  • Tizen
  • SamsungTV
The launch of the Unity Linux build marks a significant moment in the viability of Linux, not just as a gaming platform but a more encompassing development one.
That said, it should be noted that the Unity editor is but one part in a wider development workflow. Without Linux versions  of an ancillary software, be it native ports or open-source alternatives, not all developers will be upping their proverbial sticks to switch to Linux full-time.

System Requirements and Support

The Unity 3D editor officially supports Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or later but only on 64-bit versions. A modern Nvidia, AMD, or Intel graphics card is required and proprietary graphics drivers must be installed.
Installing using the official .deb will pull in all the necessary dependencies,
however you will need to install Monodevelop manually (it’s available in the Ubuntu Software Center).
The editor may also run just as well on other (modern) Linux distributions, so long as they meet the system requirements above. A ‘platform agnostic installer‘ is available to help though it should be considered ‘unsupported’.
In short: if you want the best experience you should use it on Ubuntu.
Feedback can be left on the Unity3D forums.  This will serve as the primary port-of-call for Linux users looking to hear the latest news.
To download Unity for Linux hit the button below to grab the .deb installer (roughly 900MB).

Ubuntu Want To Make It Easier For You To Install The Latest Nvidia Linux Driver


Installing the latest upstream NVIDIA graphics driver on Ubuntu could be about to get much easier. 
Ubuntu developers are considering the creation of a brand new ‘official’ PPA to distribute the latest closed-source NVIDIA binary drivers to desktop users.
The move would benefit Ubuntu gamerswithout risking the stability of the OS for everyone else.
New upstream drivers would be installed and updated from this new PPA only when a user explicitly opts-in to it. Everyone else would continue to receive and use the more recent stable NVIDIA Linux driver snapshot included in the Ubuntu archive.

Why Is This Needed?

Ubuntu provides drivers - but they're not the latest
Ubuntu provides drivers – but they’re not the latest
The closed-source NVIDIA graphics drivers that are available to install on Ubuntu from the archive (using the command line, synaptic or through the additional drivers tool) work fine for most and can handle the composited Unity desktop shell with ease.
For gaming needs it’s a different story.
If you want to squeeze every last frame and HD texture out of the latest big-name Steam game you’ll need the latest binary drivers blob.
‘Installing the very latest Nvidia Linux driver on Ubuntu is not easy and not always safe.’
The more recent the driver the more likely it is to support the latest features and technologies, or come pre-packed with game-specific tweaks and bug fixes too.
The problem is that installing the very latest Nvidia Linux driver on Ubuntu is not easy and not always safe.
To fill the void many third-party PPAs maintained by enthusiasts have emerged. Since many of these PPAs also distribute other experimental or bleeding-edge software their use is not without risk. Adding a bleeding edge PPA is often the fastest way to entirely hose a system!
A solution that lets Ubuntu users install the latest propriety graphics drivers as offered in third-party PPAs is needed but with the safety catch of being able to roll-back to the stable archive version if needed.

‘Demand for fresh drivers is hard to ignore’

‘A solution that lets Ubuntu users get the latest hardware drivers safely is coming.’
‘The demand for fresh drivers in a fast developing market is becoming hard to ignore, users are going to want the latest upstream has to offer,’ Castro explains in an e-mail to the Ubuntu Desktop mailing list.
‘[NVIDIA] can deliver a kickass experience with almost no effort from the user [in Windows 10]. Until we can convince NVIDIA to do the same with Ubuntu we’re going to have to pick up the slack.’
Castro’s proposition of a “blessed” NVIDIA PPA is the easiest way to do this.
Gamers would be able to opt-in to receive new drivers from the PPA straight from Ubuntu’s default proprietary hardware drivers tool — no need for them to copy and paste terminal commands from websites or wiki pages.
The drivers within this PPA would be packaged and maintained by a select band of community members and receive benefits from being a semi-official option, namely automated testing.
As Castro himself puts it: ‘People want the latest bling, and no matter what they’re going to do it. We might as well put a framework around it so people can get what they want without breaking their computer.’
Would you make use of this PPA? How would you rate the performance of the default Nvidia drivers on Ubuntu? Share your thoughts in the comments, folks! 


Firefox 40 Improves Video Playback, Scrolling on Linux


Firefox Banner
Mozilla Firefox 40 has squeaked out to the world, and features the usual ragtag bag of stability, performance UI improvements plus critical security fixes.
By now the release should have found its way into the Update Manager on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 15.04. If you don’t have it you can run an apt-get update check to fetch it.
Once you’re newly upgraded you’ll be wondering what’s new. To fill you — and us — in, let’s take a gander.

New Firefox 40 Features

First things first: the elephant in the room.
The biggest  headline change arriving with Firefox 40 is for the sole benefit of those running the super-shiny, info-hungry Windows 10. If you’re interested in the changes, and as a great many of you dual-boot through gritted teeth, you may well be, be sure to check out Mozilla’s official blog post on the matter. 
Firefox 40 features a batch of other changes, too.
 The release notes call out “improved scrolling, graphics, and video playback performance with off main thread compositing” for Linux users.
What does this entail? Mozilla’s Nicolas Silva explains:
“With [off main thread compositing], Gecko does the compositing work on a dedicated thread. This thread is never waiting for the main thread, so we can make sure it runs smoothly. This lets us, for example, have video decoding threads talk directly to the compositor which improves video playback dramatically.”
OMTC paves the way for further improvements down the line, including improved hardware acceleration with OpenGL (though this relies on Firefox switching to GTK3, a process still underway).
Firefox 40 also provides protection against malware by warning you of potentially unsafe or unwanted software downloads as you browse the web.
While not strictly a Linux-specific concern, most tricksy malware distribution methods are dumb. I’m sure you have seen those fake embedded system pop-ups telling you to ‘update Flash’ (not to the real one, of course) or ‘clean your system now’ (yeah, why don’t I clean my clothes with mud while i’m at it?) on your web travels.
The downloads that these sites and methods are trying to hawk are (largely) useless on Linux, but the fact they’re dodgy is still good to know.
Elsewhere in Firefox 40:
  • Redesigned add-on manager
  • Suggested Tiles use your browser history to recommend new sites (US only)
  • A warning is shown for browser extensions not signed by Mozilla 
  • JPG scaling is now faster and uses less resources
  • Firefox Hello lets you set an open tab as conversation topic/context
  • Developers can make use of a new page ruler highlighting tool

Get Firefox 40.0 for Linux

Firefox 40.0 is a free download and is available to download directly from Mozilla website.
If you’re an Ubuntu user running 12.04 LTS, 14.04 LTE or the more recent 15.04 release and have an older version of the browser installed you will receive this latest update automatically. There’s no need to add a PPA, download something from an obscure website or faff around creaking symlinks to the official binaries.
Let us know what you think of this release, or Firefox in general, in the comments section below. 

Ubuntu 15.10 Alpha 1 Releases Now Ready for Download


Surprise — the  first alpha release of the Ubuntu 15.10 development cycle is available for download. 
Yeah, we’d forgotten it was due, too!
Just four desktop flavours have taken part in this early milestone, including Lubuntu, Ubuntu MATE and Kubuntu.
For those unaware the regular version of Ubuntu only takes part in the final beta round of testing, which is currently scheduled for September 24, 2015.
The next development milestone is in just over a months time, when Alpha 2 milestones land on July 30.

New Features (Yes, Already)

Despite this being the first stage in Wily development cycle there are already a few notable changes to speak of.
All releases are based on the same version of the Linux Kernel (3.19 unstable) but will shortly transition over to therecently released Linux Kernel 4.1. 
Ubuntu MATE 15.10 Alpha 1 features a fairly hefty changelog, including artwork updates, a fresh version of the MATE Tweak tool, and throws in the useful TLP tool for helping boost power efficiency. 
Kubuntu 15.10 Alpha 1 is using the latest Plasma 5.3 desktop (and associated tech) and comes loaded with KDE Applications 15.04.1.
Lubuntu 15.10 in general is set to be another minor bug fix release as work continues on the next-gen LxQt desktop.

Remember: this isn’t finished

Alpha releases are, by their very nature, not much use to home users. They’re buggy, incomplete and in under constant development. As such you won’t want to use any of these as your primary OS just yet. Complaining about random crashes in an alpha milestone will be met with *crickets*.
You can stay on top of the Ubuntu 15.10 release schedule with our handy night-time graphic:
ubuntu-W-release-schedule-dark

Atom 1.0: Open-Source Code Editor Goes Stable


atom stable release
More than a year after launching a public beta the open-source code editor Atom has gone stable. 
Atom 1.0 sees improved performance, support for ES6 language features added and, more crucially for some developers, limitations on file sizes removed.
Scrolling, typing, and launching are said to be much faster than in earlier versions.
GitHub say the tool, which bills itself as ‘a hackable text editor for the 21st Century’, has been downloaded 1.3 million times and is used by more than 350,000 users a month.
And this is just the beginning, say GitHub. In stabilising its API a community can confidently flourish around it, helping the platform to ‘reaching its full potential’.

atom logoWhat is Atom?

Atom is flexible, hackable and easily customisable and is built using HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and Node.js,
It’s also cross-platform and runs across Windows, Mac and Linux. Official prebuilt installers are available for Ubuntu, negating the need to risk adding third-party PPAs
More than 660 themes are available, tweaking everything from syntax highlighting to system UI (and yes, there are themes that match Ubuntu’s default theme).
Some 2,090 bolt-on packages are available to expand and improve on the editor’s default functionality. Some extras, like autocomplete-plus, are so popular that entire communities have sprung up around their use.

Download Atom 1.0 for Ubuntu

Atom 1.0 is available to download right now from the project’s official website.
Celebrating the stable release is this amazing video. It takes cues from science education videos of the 1970s and 80s (with more than a nod to cult British spoof “Look Around You“).

How to Upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04


gnome-316
Wondering how to upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04?  Well, we’re here to show you how (should you want to).
Stable though the latest release of GNOME is, upgrading to it in the latest Ubuntu is not without drawbacks.
Before we get started let’s recap why.

Why GNOME 3.16 Isn’t Included in Ubuntu 15.04

The stable release of GNOME 3.16 arrived in March.
It comes with a bunch of neat app updates, a new look ‘shell’ and a slick new notification center. All great stuff, but all arriving too late in the Ubuntu development cycle to be included by default in Ubuntu 15.04.
Gnome-Unity-Logo
Since GNOME is an intrinsic part of the regular Unity desktop used by millions around the around the decision was made to stick with the older, but thoroughly tested, GNOME 3.14 release.
You can, should want to you, upgrade GNOME 3.14 to 3.16 in Ubuntu — but it’s not recommended.
Upgrading GNOME involves more than a few apps and icon themes. You are swapping out older, well tested components of your operating system for newer, largely untested replacements.
If you’re entomophobic (a fancy word for being scared of bugs) or hate software headaches (no fancy word for that) this tutorial is not for you.
To repeat: you can upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04 but it is not recommended and may not give stable, reliable experience at the end.
Understood?

How to Upgrade to GNOME 3.16 in Ubuntu 15.04

gnome-viewer
To follow this guide correctly you need to be already running GNOME 3.14 on your desktop, ideally the latest release of Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 (which ships it by default).
You can upgrade from regular versions of Ubuntu 15.04 too, but, and I cannot lie as it is a big but, following this guide could break the Unity desktop entirely.
Unity users should install the GNOME-Shell desktop before continuing.
Those running older versions of Ubuntu, like 14.10 or 14.04 LTS, cannot upgrade to GNOME 3.16 by following this guide.

1. Add the GNOME 3 Staging PPA

To upgrade we will add the GNOME 3 Staging PPA. This archive is experimental-ish and contains most of the various 3.16 packages needed to perform an upgrade, albeit in a somewhat untested state.
Do not add this PPA  if you are requiring a stable system, if you’re someone who hates the command line, or do not feel confident in fixing broken or conflicting packages.
The GNOME 3 Staging PPA comes with no guarantees, as the archive maintainers note with this caution:
“The packages [in this PPA] have been deemed not ready for general use, they have known bugs and/or regressions, sometimes of a critical nature. Mostly things should run smoothly but be prepared to use ppa-purge, when you encounter issues!”
The regular GNOME 3 PPA is more reliable, and packages within it are considered “stable”. This PPA may, at some point, host the exact GNOME 3.16 packages currently in staging (usually the plan, but sometimes they just remain in staging).
But before we add either PPA let’s do one last check for (and install any available) outstanding distribution updates:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y
With that done we can add the regular GNOME 3 PPA and the GNOME 3 Staging PPA to Ubuntu Software Sources.
The fastest way to do this is by entering the following commands in the Terminal:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3

2. Upgrade GNOME

Having added the various PPAs we’ll need the next step is to upgrade GNOME 3 itself.
Take a deep breath and run the following command:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install gnome-shell gnome-session
Pay attention to any notices that appear in the terminal after running this command. Based on your level of understanding of what you see, decide whether you want to proceed
If you’re happy to give the upgrade the nod by hitting enter.
The install/upgrade process will begin.

Greeted By a Greeter Picker?

change display manager ubuntuIf you’re not running Ubuntu GNOME you will, at some point during the install/upgrade process, be asked to choose a “default display manager” from a list.
The “display manager” handles the login screen experience.
For a pure GNOME experience use the arrow keys on your keyboard to select the ‘GDM’ (GNOME Display Manager) entry from the list that shows, and hit enter.
For the stock Ubuntu login screen select ‘lightdm’ (Light Display Manager) and hit enter.
Don’t panic if you select the wrong login manager. You can change the default Ubuntu login manager at any time by using the following command:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

When Done, Reboot

sessions
When GNOME 3.16 has finished installing and/or upgrading you will want to restart your computer.
This is needed to make sure the new packages installed  take effect, like the display manager, for example.
If you install or upgrade from a non-GNOME desktop session don’t forget to select the GNOME session from the login screen. 
That’s it. You should now be running a (mostly) GNOME 3.16 experience on Ubuntu.
But we can go a bit further, too.

Install Some GNOME Apps

Ubuntu GNOME ships with a bunch of GNOME apps by default, but not all. Ubuntu ships with almost none. T
The following command installs a few essentials, including Polari (IRC client), GNOME Maps (desktop mapping app) and Web (lightweight web-browser):
sudo apt-get install polari gnome-music gnome-photos gnome-maps gnome-weather epiphany-browser
There are more than this available but these should give you a

How To Downgrade from GNOME 3.16 to 3.14

Remember what I said about this upgrade not being recommended? You do? Good.
If you encounter significant problems with your system after installing GNOME 3.16 you can use the PPA Purge tool to remove the Staging PPA and all of its packages:
sudo apt-get install ppa-purge
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3-staging
Lastly, rid yourself of the standard GNOME 3 PPA:
sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3
Reboot and you should be back to the “stock” version of the GNOME desktop in Ubuntu 15.04.

A new day, a new Ubuntu smartphone

Hate iOS? Want a cool Linux-powered smartphone that's not Android? Then Spanish company BQ and Canonical has the smartphone for you: The Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition. Unfortunately, unless you live in the European Union, you're not going to find it easy to buy one.


















BQ's Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition
BQ's Aquaris E5 HD Ubuntu Edition
This higher-end smartphone is the successor to the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition, the first Ubuntu phone, which was well-received and moderately priced. Unlike the 4.5, which was at first only available in limited quantities, the E5 will be the first mass-market Ubuntu smartphone.
It's base hardware is the same as BQ's Android-powered E5. Thus, it comes with a 5'' 720p HD display. This is powered by a 1.3GHz MediaTek Quad Core Cortex A7 processor backed by 1GB of RAM, with 16GB of storage plus a microSD slot for more storage.
The processor and the 1 GB of RAM are on the slow and low side. In my experience that's more than enough to run Ubuntu Touch, the smartphone version of Ubuntu. Ubuntu requires less in the way of system resources than most mobile operating systems.
The new smartphone also comes with a 13-megapixel camera with dual flash. This camera can shoot up to 1080p HD video. On the front is a 5-megapixel camera for video calling or selfies.
It also comes with not one but two unlocked SIM card slots. With these you can have two different numbers; one for work and the other for personal calls. Or, you can do what I do: Use one for domestic calls and the other for international calls. If you travel abroad much this can really save you money.
This won't be the last Ubuntu smartphone from BQ. In a statement, Alberto Méndez, BQ's CEO said, "Working with Canonical on bringing the Aquaris E5 Ubuntu Edition has been very satisfying. We share the same philosophy as them along with the same commitment to the Open Source Initiative. At BQ, our goal is to help people understand technology, encourage them to use it and inspire them to create it. That´s why the opportunity for creation that Ubuntu affords is fundamentally important to us."
The E5 will be available for purchase on about June 12, across the entire European Union from the BQ online store for €199.90., or just 221 US dollars. That's nine euros less than the Android version.
To get it in the States, the only sure way is to have a friend in the EU order one and then ship it to you. BQ will not support the phone in the US, so I recommend that only hard-core Ubuntu phone fans give this a try.



















You may be able to order one in the States via Amazon UK, but we were unable to determine if this method will work because the device is not currently on sale.

Ubuntu 15.10 Daily Build Downloads Now Available


Roaring into life the first Ubuntu 15.10 daily build images are now available to download.
Daily spins for the Wily Werewolf arrive nearly a week after development kicked off and includes ISO images for both regular Ubuntu (using Unity) and community flavors like Ubuntu MATEand Xubuntu.
As the name suggests, these images will be spun up daily for the next six months. At various intervals during this time a “snapshot” of one of these images is taken and released as an alpha, beta or release candidate milestone.
The final Ubuntu 15.10 release date is currently pencilled in for October 30, 2015, so the ‘Wily Werewolf’ should transform into a strong and stable beast just in time for the spooky festival of Samhain/Hallowe’en.

What are Ubuntu Daily Builds?

ubuntu-cds
Behind each release is untold hours of testing
Daily builds of Ubuntu are built from source each day using the latest code, fixes, updates, patches and packages.
The ‘freshness’ is important as it allows the very latest changes to be continually and iteratively tested, either by hand (using Apport) or using separate, automated testing tools.
Lowering the barrier to testing (generally) results in better testing and quality assurance. Testers don’t need compile anything for themselves or wait months for a ‘milestone’ release to go live to get involved.
The frequency of Ubuntu daily build images also speeds up the feedback cycle — which also improves the quality of the code going in to each successive build. Bugs and issues are found sooner and against the latest code (it’s easier to narrow down the cause).

Download Ubuntu 15.10 Daily Build

Ubuntu 15.10 Wily Werewolf
Use Ubuntu daily builds are provided for testing purposes only and should not be installed by anyone needing a stable desktop experience. That warning that goes doubly so for daily builds produced this early in the development cycle.
For those of you live on the bleeding edge and/or want to get involved in helping to test you can download an Ubuntu 15.10 daily live image to try in a virtual machine (or install one to a separate partition/device).
Hit the button below to navigate over to the Ubuntu image server where you will be able to download a daily build of Ubuntu as an .iso file.



How to Install Visual Studio Code in Ubuntu


A fair chunk of you will know that Microsoft — no hissing at the back — has released a cross-platform code editor that runs on Linux (as well as Mac OS X and Windows).
Announced at the Build 2015 event, Microsoft has launched a desktop code editing application on Linux called Visual Studio Code.
(If you didn’t know then I apologise for making you spray coffee all over your laptop.)
In this post we’ll take a quick look at what it is and how you can install it in Ubuntu.

Visual Studio Code for Linux

Visual Studio Code has been been built using a mix of web-based and open-source technologies, like Chromium and GitHub’s Electron app framework, and Microsoft’s own Monaco editor.
Visual Studio CodeThe tool is a code editor first and foremost. It is not a fully fledged IDE (Integrated Development Environment) like its namesake Visual Studio.
But that’s the point; a score of OMG! Ubuntu! readers already use regular code editors, like Sublime Text and GitHub’s Atom to make or edit apps and websites. It’s these folks that Microsoft is pitching Visual Studio Code for Linux at.

Features

Visual Studio Code supports full syntax coloring and highlighting, bracket matching and linting, plus keyboard bindings and snippets.
It also provides Github integration, similar to that found in Google’s Chrome Dev Editor, and IntelliSense support powered by open-source projects for faster working (e.g., typo correction, auto-completion, etc) with supported
Among the 30 or so programming languages currently supported by Visual Studio Code are:
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • C++
  • PHP
  • Java
  • HTML
  • Markdown
  • SASS
  • JSON
  • Python
Keep the ‘alpha-status’ in mind when testing and keep an ear out for word on more features (like plugin support) as and when they arrive over the coming months.

How to Install Visual Studio Code in Ubuntu

Visual Studio Code is currently in preview (read; possibly buggy, missing features, etc) and is available to download for free on Windows, Mac and Linux.
The Linux download is provided as a distro-agnostic 64-bit binary (not an installer). It runs from its own folder.
Visual Studio Code for Linux is also available to install using Ubuntu Make, Canonical’s handy set of command-line tools for quickly installing a raft of IDEs and developer doo-dahs, zero fuss.
To install Visual Studio Code in Ubuntu (14.04 through 15.04) using Ubuntu Make you need to run the following commands in a new Terminal window.  The first adds the PPA, the second installs the tool, the third installs Visual Studio Code itself.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/ubuntu-make
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntu-make
umake web visual-studio-code

A Good Move for Everyone


The launch of Visual Studio Code on Linux will surprise some, excite others and, naturally, enrage a few (hey, we all know someone who has nothing but caps-lock outrage for Microsoft whatever they do).
As with the open-sourcing of server-side .Net Core last year, despite the cynical sneers aimed at it, the launch of a cross-platform code creator, debugger and compiler is good news. It’s another step in the right direction for Satya Nadella’s pragmatic Microsoft.
Pragmatic in that the company is now willing to engage withCOMPETING platforms — something its now in its own interest to do — but is also increasingly accepting of the fact that the right tool for the job is not always one of its own.
Microsoft’s continued partnerships with Canonical in the cloud, on the Internet of Things and with first-class Linux support on Azure shows this willingness. Through gritted teeth? Maybe. But it now accepts this “new world order” where open-source and Linux are not just equal players, but innovators driving progress.
The wilfully paranoid won’t be placated by this gesture, but for the millions of Linux developers looking to ‘get stuff done’ Visual Studio Code is yet another powerful on an already powerful development platform.

The Meizu X4 is the first compelling Ubuntu phone

meizu x4 ubuntu phone


We’ve been hearing about Meizu’s forthcoming Ubuntu-powered smartphone since early 2014—more than a year ago. Well, all those words just became tangible, and they’ve coalesced into the first compelling-looking Ubuntu phone.
The Ubuntu MX4 is now out and can be purchased from Meizu’s website in China. Meizu’s Ubuntu phone follows in the footsteps of the Bq Aquaris, which is now onSALE across Europe. The second Ubuntu smartphone will also be on sale in Europe soon.
Let’s dig into the specs first. Meizu’s MX4 Ubuntu edition is a higher-end phone than Bq’s Aquaris. It features a 5.36-inch, 1920 x 1152 screen, an eight-core processor, 2 GB of RAM, and 16 GB of integrated flash storage. The rear camera boasts 20.7 megapixels, while the front one boasts 2 megapixels. The phone is built on the MediaTek MT6595 system-on-a-chip.

Meizu’s phone is for China (and Europe)

Canonical is pitching the Ubuntu MX4 phone at the ChineseMARKET. Meizu is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer, after all. “The move kicks off Meizu’s push towards strengthening the Ubuntu ecosystem in China, ahead of launching the Chinese Edition to its user base later this year,” proclaims Canonical’s press release.
More than just aiming at a general ChineseMARKET, the Ubuntu MX4 is initially pitched at developers. Scopes and web apps for popular Chinese services like Baidu, Weibo, Youku, and QQ are already available in the Ubuntu store. Canonical wants developers to submit their own scopes and web apps to the Ubuntu store, enhancing the platform ahead of a wider consumer release. Canonical is still pushing Ubuntu phone’s scopes-focused interface as a better alternative to the app-centric iOS, Android, and Windows phone platforms.
Canonical notes Meizu’s Ubuntu MX4 will also “be sold across Europe soon,” so it will provide a higher-end Ubuntu phone to European users and developers looking for something more powerful than Bq’s phone.
Want to stay up to date on Linux, BSD, Chrome OS, and the rest of the World Beyond Windows? Bookmark the World Beyond Windows column page or follow our RSS feed.

But what about the USA, and elsewhere?

So China and Europe now have Ubuntu phones available. But what about the USA?
Previously, OMG UbuntuREPORTED it had heard that Canonical signed an agreement with Meizu to let Meizu distribute these phones in China, and give Canonical the ability to sell them in Europe and the USA. That’s why many people expected the Meizu MX4 to be the first Ubuntu phone for the US market. Meizu still appears to distributing these phones in China, and Canonical still appears to be distributing them in Europe—but what about the USA?
We don’t know anything about when the USA will get a Ubuntu phone or what the device will be. OMG Ubuntu reports that Canonical will be announcing details of a forthcoming Ubuntu phone in June. Canonical will be partnering with a different smartphone manufacturer to create and release a new phone for the US market, according to theREPORT. Unfortunately, we haven’t heard anything about phones for the rest of the world.
This forthcoming phone may be the same one that offers Ubuntu’s long-teased convergence features. After all, Canonical promised it would announce a new phone with smartphone-PC convergence features after Microsoft revealed its own smartphone-PC convergence plans with Windows 10 for phones.

Installing Ubuntu on a phone

What to expect after installation

After you install Ubuntu for phones, you will have the following functionality:
  1. Shell and core applications
  2. Connection to the GSM network on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4
  3. Phone calls and SMS on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4
  4. Networking via Wifi
  5. Functional camera, front and back
  6. Device accessible through the Android Developer Bridge tool (adb)
For detailed information check the release notes.

Supported devices and codenames

The table below lists the supported devices and their corresponding factory images, should you want to switch back to Android. The images can be found on the Google developer website.
DeviceCodenameFactory firmware from Google
Galaxy Nexusmagurotakju or yakju
Nexus 4makooccam

Flashing the device

  1. 1

Desktop setup

  1. The following steps are required on your desktop system in order to flash and communicate with the device.

Setup the Ubuntu for phones tools PPA

  1. The PPA has the tools and dependencies to support 12.04 LTS, 12.10, 13.04 and 13.10. Add the Ubuntu for phones PPA by adding the following custom source list entry to your/etc/apt/sources.list file.
    On your computer, press Ctrl+Alt+T to start a terminal.
    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools
    Then do the following:
    sudo apt-get update 
    sudo apt-get install phablet-tools android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot
  2. 2

Android backup (optional)

    • If not enabled, enable developer mode by tapping Settings > About phone > Build number (7 times)
    • If not enabled, enable USB debugging in Settings > Developer options > USB debugging
    • Execute on your computer
      adb backup -apk -shared -all
    This should hopefully create backup.ab with all of your apps, OS, and data. Later, after reflashing with Android (or rooting / unlocking) you will be able to use
    adb restore backup.ab
    to restore all of your data.
  1. 3

Device unlock

  1. If the device is already unlocked, skip to Step 4. These steps will wipe all personal data from the device.
    • With the device powered off, power on the device by holding the power button + volume up + volume down.
    • The device will boot into the bootloader.
    • Plug the device into the computer via the USB cable.
    • On your computer, in a terminal, run sudo fastboot oem unlock, on the device screen, accept the terms of unlocking.
    • Boot the device by pressing the power button (pointed by an arrow with Start on the screen).

Device factory reset

  1. If you get stuck in a bootloop rebooting the device after unlocking the bootloader, here is what you do:
    • During the bootloop hold the power button + volume up + volume down button simultaneously to get yourself back into fastboot mode as you were previously.
    • In fastboot mode, use the volume keys to scroll to Recovery and the power button to select it.
    • In Recovery (Android robot on his back with a red triangle), tap the volume up button and the power button simultaneously which will bring you into stock recovery. Don't hold the buttons, just tap them simultaneously.
    • Also make sure you're holding the correct volume button. Up will be the volume key on the right.
    • Once you're in Recovery, perform a factory reset/data wipe and then reboot your device, you should now be back to the Welcome Screen.
  2. 4

Initial device setup

  1. Follow these initial steps on your device:
    1. If not booted, boot the device into Android
    2. Enable USB debugging on the device
      • On Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0) go to Settings and turn on USB Debugging (Settings > System > Developer options > USB debugging).
      • On Jelly Bean (versions 4.1 and 4.2) you need to enterSettings > About [Phone|Tablet] and tap the Build number 7 times to see the Developer Options.
      • On 4.2.2, (Settings > About) tap on build number 7 times to activate the developer options menu item).
      • On either Android version you must then enable USB debugging via Settings > Developer options > USB debugging. You will also need to accept a host key on the device.
        • On the workstation: adb kill-server; adb start-server
    3. Plug the device into the computer via the USB cable.
      • Depending on the installed Android version, a popup will show up on the device with the host key that needs to be accepted for the device to communicate with the workstation.
      • Note, 'adb devices' should not show the device as 'offline'. If it does, unplug the device, run adb under sudo on the workstation (eg. sudo adb kill-server; sudo adb start-server), then plug the device back in.
    4. Save the version of the current image on the device, if on Android, to use as a reference to revert back to. The version can be found by going to Settings > About Phone > Build Number.
  2. 5

Downloading and deploying image to device

  1. To install Ubuntu for phones on your device, you will need to run the command:
    phablet-flash ubuntu-system --no-backup
    Please note, this will wipe the contents of the device so ensure you have made a backup.
    This will deploy the latest build onto your device, after which your device will boot into the Ubuntu Unity shell. This step can take a very long time.

General notes

  • Be patient — some steps, like pushing the files over USB to the device, take time. Just wait through any screens looking like input is required. Carefully read messages on the host and the device.
  • The files are saved in Downloads/phablet-flash.
  • If the deploy fails (for example boots to black screen), try wiping the /data partition on your device and redeploy.
  • phablet-flash will not work unless you have booted your device (it must not be displaying the bootloader screen and "adb devices" should list your device).
  • If you get stuck at ' < waiting for device > ' and your device reboots into Android, you may have to run phablet-flash under sudo

Need help?

If you got lost somewhere, you found a bug or need some help, we're happy to help you. Ubuntu for phones is put together by a community of many, who are eager to work together with you on this.
If you've got any questions with these installation instructions, there's a community willing to help, just ask on Ask Ubuntu!
You can also:
  • Join us on IRC in #ubuntu-touch on irc.freenode.net and/or
  • Join our mailing list by
    1. Joining the ubuntu-phone team on Launchpad and
    2. Enabling the team mailing list at https://launchpad.net/~/+editemails

Further information

For other examples of things you can do with your phone, like:
  • Running additional commands
  • How to restore Android
  • Manual download and installation instructions

Disclaimer

Ubuntu for phones is released for free non-commercial use. It is provided without warranty, even the implied warranty of merchantability, satisfaction or fitness for a particular use. See the licence included with each program for details.
Some licences may grant additional rights; this notice shall not limit your rights under each program's licence. Licences for each program are available in the usr/share/doc directory. Source code for Ubuntu can be downloaded from archive.ubuntu.com. Ubuntu, the Ubuntu logo and Canonical are registered trademarks of Canonical Ltd. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
Ubuntu for phones is released for limited use due to the inclusion of binary hardware support files. The original components and licenses can be found on the Google website.

How to Install Linux Mint

To download Click here

How to Install Ubuntu 12.04.3 LTS

  1. 1

    Using a CD?

    It’s easy to install Ubuntu from a CD. Here’s what you need to do:
    Put the Ubuntu CD into the CD/DVD-drive.
    Restart your computer. You should see a welcome screen prompting you to choose your language and giving you the option to install Ubuntu or try it from the CD.
    If you don't get this menu, read the booting from the CD guide for more information.

    Using a USB drive?

    Most newer computers can boot from USB. You should see a welcome screen prompting you to choose your language and giving you the option to install Ubuntu or try it from the CD.
    If your computer doesn’t automatically do so, you might need to press the F12 key to bring up the boot menu, but be careful not to hold it down - that can cause an error message.
  2. 2

    Prepare to install Ubuntu

    • We recommend you plug your computer into a power source
    • You should also make sure you have enough space on your computer to install Ubuntu
    • We advise you to select Download updates while installing and Install this third-party software now
    • You should also stay connected to the internet so you can get the latest updates while you install Ubuntu
    • If you're not connected to the internet, we'll help you set up wireless at the next step
  3. 3

    Set up wireless

    If you are not connected to the internet, you will be asked to select a wireless network, if available. We advise you to connect during the installation so we can ensure your machine is up to date. So, if you set up your wireless network at this point, it’s worth then clicking the Back button to go back to the last screen (Preparing to install Ubuntu) and ticking the box marked ‘Download updates while installing’.
  4. 4

    Allocate drive space

    Use the checkboxes to choose whether you'd like to Install Ubuntu alongside another operating system, delete your existing operating system and replace it with Ubuntu, or — if you're an advanced user — choose the 'Something else'option
  5. 5

    Begin the installation

    Depending on your previous selections, you can now verify that you have chosen the way in which you would like to install Ubuntu. The installation process will begin when you click the Install Now button.
    Ubuntu needs about 4.5 GB to install, so add a few extra GB to allow for your files.
    Not sure about this step? Windows users can use the Windows installer, which will install and uninstall Ubuntu in the same way as any other Windows application. It's simpler and completely safe.
  6. 6

    Select your location

    If you are connected to the internet, this should be done automatically. Check your location is correct and click'Forward' to proceed. If you're unsure of your time zone, type the name of the town you're in or click on the map and we'll help you find it.
    TIP: If you’re having problems connecting to the Internet, use the menu in the top-right-hand corner to select a network.
  7. 7

    Select your preferred keyboard layout

    Click on the language option you need. If you’re not sure, click the ’Detect Keyboard Layout’ button for help.
  8. 8

    Enter your login and password details

  9. 9

    Learn more about Ubuntu while
    the system installs…

    …or make a cup of tea!
  10. 10

    That’s it.

    All that’s left is to restart your computer and start enjoying Ubuntu!
Source :http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/install-desktop-long-term-support

Linux

Linux is a Unix-like and POSIX-compliant computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of Linux is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on 5 October 1991 by Linus Torvalds.Because it considers Linux to be a variant of the GNU operating system, initiated in 1983 by Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation prefers the name GNU/Linux when referring to the operating system as a whole; see GNU/Linux naming controversy for more details.
Linux was originally developed as a free operating system for Intel x86-based personal computers. It has since been ported to more computer hardware platforms than any other operating system. It is a leading operating system on servers and other big iron systems such as mainframe computers and supercomputers: as of June 2013, more than 95% of the world's 500 fastest super computers run some variant of Linux,including all the 44 fastest. Linux also runs on embedded systems (devices where the operating system is typically built into the firmware and highly tailored to the system) such as mobile phones,tablet computers, network routers, building automation controls, televisions and video game consoles; the Android system in wide use on mobile devices is built on the Linux kernel.
The development of Linux is one of the most prominent examples of free and open source software collaboration: the underlying source code may be used, modified, and distributed — commercially or non-commercially — by anyone under licenses such as the GNU General Public License. Typically, Linux is packaged in a format known as a Linux distribution for desktop and server use. Some popular mainstream Linux distributions include Debian (and its derivatives such as Ubuntu and Linux Mint), Fedora (and its derivatives such as the commercial Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its open equivalent Cent OS), Mandriva/Mageia, open SUSE (and its commercial derivative SUSE Linux Enterprise Server), and Arch Linux. Linux distributions include the Linux kernel, supporting utilities and libraries and usually a large amount of application software to fulfill the distribution's intended use.
A distribution oriented toward desktop use will typically include X11 or Wayland as the windowing system, and an accompanying desktop environment such as GNOME or the KDE Software Compilation. Some such distributions may include a less resource intensive desktop such as LXDE or Xfce, for use on older or less powerful computers. A distribution intended to run as a server may omit all graphical environments from the standard install, and instead include other software to set up and operate a LAMP or a LYCE solution stack. Because Linux is freely redistributable, anyone may create a distribution for any intended use.

Ubuntu

Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux operating system, with Unity as its default desktop environment. It is based on free software and named after the Southern African philosophy of ubuntu (literally, "human-ness"), which often is translated as "humanity towards others" or "the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity".
Development of Ubuntu is led by Canonical Ltd., a company based in the Isle of Man and owned by South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth. Canonical generates revenue through the sale of technical support and other services related to Ubuntu. The Ubuntu project is publicly committed to the principles of open source development; people are encouraged to use free software, study how it works, improve upon it, and distribute it.
Ubuntu is composed of many software packages, the majority of which are free software. Free software gives users the freedom to study, adapt/modify, and distribute it. Ubuntu can also run proprietary software.
Ubuntu comes installed with a wide range of software that includes LibreOffice, Firefox, Empathy, Transmission, and several lightweight games (such as Sudoku and chess). Additional software that is not installed by default (including software that used to be in the default installation such as Evolution, GIMPPidgin, and Synaptic) can be downloaded and installed using the Ubuntu Software Center or other apt-based package management tools. Programs in the Software Center are mostly free, but there are also priced products, including applications and magazines. Ubuntu can also run many programs designed for Microsoft Windows (such as Microsoft Office), through Wine or using a Virtual Machine (such as VirtualBox or VMware Workstation).
Ubuntu Desktop includes Unity, a graphical desktop environment.
The Ubiquity installer allows Ubuntu to be installed to the hard disk from within the Live CD environment.
GNOME (the former default desktop) supports more than 46 languages.
For increased security, the sudo tool is used to assign temporary privileges for performing administrative tasks, allowing the root account to remain locked, and preventing inexperienced users from inadvertently making catastrophic system changes or opening security holes. PolicyKit is also being widely implemented into the desktop to further harden the system through theprinciple of least privilege.
Ubuntu can close its own network ports using its own firewall software. End-users can install Gufw (GUI for Uncomplicated Firewall) and keep it enabled.
Ubuntu compiles its packages using GCC features such as PIE and Buffer overflow protection to harden its software.These extra features greatly increase security at the performance expense of 1% in 32 bit and 0.01% in 64 bit.