Oct 31, 2011

Ubuntu on phones, tablets, TV’s & smart screens

Mark Shuttleworth » Ubuntu on phones, tablets, TV’s and smart screens everywhere
would love to see that possibility. But first we would need the freedom to install what we want on hardware we pay for. Long way to go ...

UDS: Mark Shuttleworth - Ubuntu 12.04 & Beyond

UDS: Mark Shuttleworth - Plans for Ubuntu 12.04 & Beyond
Can't wait for Ubuntu 12.04 ><'. I have five computers patiently waiting for that LTS release :). This is going to be a great news week for me ^^ ..

Oct 28, 2011

Bios: Secure Boot

Canonical Blog - White Paper: Secure Boot impact on Linux
good to see some positive action regarding this topic. I build my computers myself so I wouldn't want this anyway. Buying a new Card just to notice at home that it will not work because some stupid key is missing. Just a bad and restricting idea. Again something that helps the big ones and hinders the little ones.

Oct 24, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 - dislikes

After using the final Ubuntu 11.10 release for some time and liking it quite a bit. I present the things that annoy me so far:
  • for some reason Banshee doesn't work properly at all. Most of the time it freezes on start. If it starts it crashes after a few songs are played. In short the experience is horrible. So horrible that I stopped to listen to music on my computer for now. I removed all Banshee config files I could find within my home directory, just to make sure there isn't something old left over which causes this. Didn't help at all. I did install Rhythmbox which seems to work better but crashes after a few songs as well. Maybe the crash is related to some backend stuff not working properly. Maybe I make the effort and spend some time to setup XMMS2 and look how that goes. This is a mayor problem for me as I usually listen to music constantly when I'm on my computer.
  • Desura updates often (which is a good thing for a beta) and it already improved some but still crashes a lot. Also I can't get some games to install ("Gathering Information" stands there and nothing happens). Annoying but I'm sure they manage to get stable for the LTS.
  • The first time I open up the dash after login I can't write anything. Minor thing but a bit annoying. If I close it and open it again everything is fine.
  • Sorting of "the things I want" in dash is sometimes a bit funny. I often start Skype out of the dash and still it's not the first item most of the time. Other Items before Skype I didn't start at all. That's annoying as I want to press the Super key, type sky and press enter. Can't do that right now. If this isn't fixed for the LTS I probably need to install something like GnomeDo again.
  • Skype still sometimes has weird audio. Didn't call anybody so far so don't know how well that will work. But especially on start the Skype sound is very distorted.
  • Some apps tend to steal focus which is very annoying. Especially the Update Manager. I start it, press check and minimize all to continue my work. After some time it puts itself in the foreground and I'm interrupted. Very annoying and if I remember right not the only app that does this.
  • As the keyring requests the password after login it sometimes doesn't have the focus, or the focus is stolen by something else. This happens often as I turn on my computer (it's on auto-login) and go away for some time. After I get back it's finished booting and is on the desktop but I can't just enter the password. I have to first click on the dialog. Sometimes it even looks focused visually but I just can't type until I click somewhere on the window.
  • I'm still annoyed from time to time by the global menu. But it has improved. I don't like it but I can live with it. The removed visual clutter is nice, behavior is still not optimal or consistent across applications.
  • Just like last time I still need to manually edit the Pulseaudio config file and set "enable-lfe-remixing = yes" for my subwoofer to work with normal stereo sound (like music playback). This is annoying and the only thing I need to edit a config file for (which I still hate to do).
  • Right click on a dash icon reveals a menu. I can't select an item the first time. Need to open the menu a second time to actually use it. It doesn't even highlight the hovered entry the first time. Seems like it doesn't take any input. Strange thing ...
  • Skype windows often behave strangely. They look focused but I can't write. The don't look focused but I am able to write. It seems to have trouble with focused/unfocused and minimized/normal states. Whats present and what is visually shown often doesn't fit together. Actually, it doesn't fit more often than it does.
They really have fixed a lot of my old dislikes in this release. Maybe that's why I like it much more. Still a lot of Skype problems, but I gave up on good Skype integration years ago. Skype is usable but far from a good experience.

I have high hopes for the next LTS that most of these will be gone with it. Can't wait ...

Oct 2, 2011

Ubuntu 11.10 - first impressions

Just like half a year ago I will write some first impressions on the soon to be released new Ubuntu. I did already play with it for some time on my Dell netbook. Yesterday I installed Ubuntu 11.10 on my main machine. So far I'm feeling pretty good about it. Looks like a decent improvement over the (not so good) last release.

Here a list of things that catched my attention in this release (I'll post a separate entry on things I didn't like after the release is out as things still may change):
  • I like the Unity UI improvements and general polish a lot. Looks and behaves better everywhere.
  • The rearrangements and changes to the indicators are great.
  • Somehow the UI feels a lot snappier now. This makes Unity much more enjoyable to use.
  • The new login screen looks great. And my machine is really fast in getting there.
  • PulseAudio improvements are awesome! (or what ever causes my Skype sound to work without me having to edit config files)
  • Some of the new config tools are great and I like where this will go in the future. "Online Accounts", "Color", "Wacom Graphics Tablet", ... It feels like a more professional and dedicated work machine.
  • Audio volume changes are accompanied by a subtle sound now. Very Mac like. A great feature to have.
  • As a developer I like to see new, long overdue, versions of development tools and libraries. Newest Mono (!!) as well as the current Eclipse release are all in the repositories. Awesome! Especially Mono has always been a black spot for me on Ubuntu. Now I'm just missing the newest version of Editra, an awesome text editor.
  • My Wacom Tablet, Webcam and Android Phone seem to work as expected. No configuration or modifications needed. I still like that :).
  • The new "share my installed applications with my other machines" thing in the software center is great. Used that already.
  • Skype works out-of-the-box without any config modifications needed. My sound problems are gone. Furthermore, it looks like Skype has a indicator now. This is awesome! (No old, ugly systray icons anymore)
  • Since a few days I run the Desura beta client. Steam like game management on linux. I added my Humble Bundle games to my account. ~20 great Games :). Also they have some free games in there as well. Right now they have 48 solid Linux games in there. The client is very betaisch so you might want to wait a bit before you try it. I hope they manage to fix that in time as it will complement the next LTS release greatly. This would make one hell of an LTS.
  • I think this is the first release where Samba (Windows File Sharing) did work directly after installation. Until now I always had to install additional configuration tools and make it work from there. Now they should just share that "Public" folder by default (or ask if you want to) after installation :). What else it it good for anyway ...
  • Also, I don't seem to have the Flash problems on Youtube anymore. With the last Ubuntu release sometimes Youtube videos won't load correctly (only audio, no UI only black rectangle where Video should be). This didn't happen so far.
In my opinion this is a much better and more usable release than the last one. Ubuntu 11.04 gave me different unexpected problems (random freezes, hangs on shutdown, flash problems) besides the early Unity UI. Most problems seem to be gone so far. Still needs some time to be sure.

I'm confident that the next LTS release (Ubuntu 12.04) will be a awesome Unity release. Another six months of polish and extension of current features will make one great desktop. Looking forward to that ...