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Updated: 3 hours 29 min ago

Interview with openSUSE chairman Richard Brown

Thursday 25th of September 2014 09:00:20 PM

The openSUSE board recently appointed Richard Brown as their chairman. The position became vacant after Vincent Untz decided to step down. Here is the interview with the chairman.

Swapnil Bhartiya: What roles and responsibilities does this position bring to you, or in other words what does the openSUSE chairman do?
Richard Brown: I think I need to start by explaining the role of openSUSE Board. The Board consists of 6 people chosen to ‘lead’ the openSUSE Project. In practical terms that means we’re the central point of contact for the project, we step in and resolve any conflicts that occur in the community, help keep everyone involved in the project talking to each other and aware of what’s going on, provide guidance and to act as ‘decision makers when needed’.

To give an example of what the openSUSE Board does, our current agenda includes taking decisions on openSUSE’s sponsorship of other projects and conferences, overseeing the progress for the openSUSE.asia conference in October and next years openSUSE Conference, and helping ramp up our presence at more open source events around the world. We also looking for help to improve openSUSE’s infrastructure, especially our web presence and many of the tools and web services used by the community. All of the Board members are also contributors to openSUSE in their own right so we’re all busy helping get openSUSE 13.2 ready also.

The Board consists of 5 elected members and 1 chairman. The 5 elected members are chosen by our community – we have an election at the end of the year, so anyone interested in running for a seat on the Board should probably start considering it.

The Chairman is appointed by SUSE, and by and large, my role is to be an active Board member, with the same roles and responsibilities as my colleagues on the Board. In addition I have a few additional responsibilities within SUSE, such as being a central point of contact for issues related to openSUSE, and communicating and representing the communities interests and activities within the company. I suppose it also means something more to the outside world, or else we wouldn’t be having this interview.

SB: Can you tell us about your involvement with Open Source?
RB: I’ve been using Linux since around 2003. I think my first distribution was Slackware, followed by Debian, but it wasn’t very long before I discovered SUSE and since then I’ve been hooked. I started contributing with the great ‘opening up’ of the distribution that came with the launch of the openSUSE Project in 2005. In terms of ‘upstream contributions’, I’ve contributed to GNOME, ownCloud, Spacewalk, Cobbler, and a few other projects over the years, but normally through my involvement with openSUSE. I guess you could say I’m a little ‘Geeko-centric’ that way.

SB: You have been involved with Gnome, which has taken some beating lately, how do you see Gnome shaping up?
RB: I think it’s going great! I was at GUADEC this year and I was really impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm and the great ideas coming out of the GNOME Project. While GNOME 3 obviously isn’t to everyone’s taste, I think it’s a very exciting approach to an open source desktop, and I think it’s managed to carve itself a niche separate from KDE, Unity, and the other alternatives out there.

I’ve been running GNOME 3.12 for some time and it’s been the most comfortable Linux desktop I’ve ever had, and now I’m testing what will be in GNOME 3.14 I’m confident GNOME is going to continue getting better and better.

SB: What is the target audience of openSUSE – while Fedora is known for cutting edge software, Ubuntu is known for ease of use and mass market, Arch/Getoo are known for fully user-controlled distros where does openSUSE fit?
RB: Our target audience? The cheeky answer would be “all of them”. More seriously, this isn’t something we’ve explicitly defined in the openSUSE Project, but I see our strength as being *the* ‘goldilocks’ distribution.
We’re at the cutting edge, but not too far so we have things that are broken, easy to use, but not dumbed down, give you full control, but do what we can to make that easy. We want to be the distribution that gets that balance ‘just right’ so you can have a powerful up to date Operating System that has everything you need to get your work done, if that work is day-to-day desktop stuff, an openSUSE server running at home or in a cloud, or bleeding edge software development & hacking.

In our regular releases we go for as close to ‘cutting edge’ as we feel safe without pushing it to the edge (after all, we need to support those versions for a while). In openSUSE Factory, our rolling-release, we get to go right up to the edge, and rely on tools like openQA to make sure we don’t cross that boundary from ‘cutting edge’ into broken.

In terms of ease of use we provide polished experiences in a bunch of Linux Desktops (KDE, GNOME, Enlightenment to name just a few), and our YaST installer has recently had a revamp to make it easier and faster to get your openSUSE system installed and running just how you want it.

YaST is also a big part of our answer for putting you ‘in control’ of your Linux system, with modules to control everything from software installation and partition configuration to configuring web servers, NFS, LDAP and various hypervisors. However, for people who may have tried YaST in the past and didn’t like it, we no longer assume YaST is the only way you’re administering your machine, so it should happily co-exist with whatever other changes you make outside of our tools, leaving you in complete control of your system.

SB: Linus Torvalds recently talked about a major issue plaguing Linux distributions – application packaging. What do you think about it and how can Linux distributions solve this problem?
RB: I think Linus is right when he describes the making of binaries for all the different distributions as a ‘problem’. Shared libraries, different library versions, the fact that often you’re having to build against a constantly moving target as all the various components you’re building against are changing. It’s not always fun!

I do not agree that the solution he recently talked about (applications built and run against static libraries distributed with those binaries) is the best way to solve the problem, but I think my perspective is heavily influenced by the fact that openSUSE uses the Open Build Service.

In OBS you’re able to track all those library changes and reproducibly build packages for not just openSUSE, but plenty of other distributions (Fedora, Ubuntu, Arch & Debian as examples). Other projects like VideoLAN, Tizen and ownCloud are already using OBS, and we’d like to see more. I certainly think that’s the best way we can already help solve the problem.

SB: openSUSE lead the AppStream project, can you talk about the status of that project and if it is improving things for Linux Distributions?
RB: I think it would be unfair to say that openSUSE ‘lead’ the Appstream project. We certainly had a hand in initiating it and use it very heavily. Our Open Build Service generates appstream metadata, and uses it to provide a richer experience on our software search at http://software.opensuse.org . Our distribution includes tools like Packagekit, GNOME Software, and Apper that all use Appstream to give a richer ‘app store’ like way of installing and removing software, which I think is very important for making Linux desktops more welcoming for users from other platforms

SB: openSUSE offers great KDE and Gnome integration – which can be called the best among all Linux distributions. How do you achieve it?
RB: Community, Community, Community – openSUSE has great teams contributing on it’s desktop environments, especially KDE and GNOME. While obviously I realise I might be a little biased as part of openSUSE’s GNOME team, I think the greatest strength there is how well our teams communicate with each other. Even though we’re working in different teams, we regularly chat, share experiences, complain to each other about our problems, and generally try to keep each other in the loop as to what is going on. This means when big issues or integration challenges come up, we’re already often on the same page and able to quickly come up with a solution together. While it isn’t always easy going, I think it’s a really great strength that other distributions might be missing out on, especially those who often produce lots of derivatives rather than a broadly integrated distribution.

The post Interview with openSUSE chairman Richard Brown appeared first on The Mukt.

New Steam Discovery update makes discovering games easier than ever!

Thursday 25th of September 2014 07:34:44 PM

Steam has become an indispensable part of every gamer’s life. With a version for every major platform, if you are a gamer, chances are you have a Steam account. The latest Update to the Steam client from Valve makes Steam a completely new experience. The new update is dubbed as the Discovery update, and just like the namesake, the new features does make for quite an interesting discovery of the Steam.

With the addition of 1,300 titles over the last year, along with Valve opening its doors to the community, Steam now boasts of over 3,500 titles in its library. Add to the fact that Valve is slowly turning into a self-sustainable publishing platform, the number of games in its catalog suddenly jumps to a very large number. Now as a gamer, that means that there might be games that would perfectly appeal to one, but which they might end up never learning about. The new Discovery Update intends to overcome that specific barrier.

The update starts with a revamped Home Page. The new home page is now more like a general gaming website, rather than a storefront, with an emphasis on the color blue, which isn’t a bad thing. On the left you have your specific filters along with your recommendations. The page also includes your various news feeds, like the recommendations, favourites and general game updates. The sections can be easily customized through settings. In addition, there is now a Discovery queue.

This new feature is a learning algorithm that learns your gaming preferences and suggests you an updated list of games that suits your play styles. This feature is an excellent addition as it not only makes your game purchasing a much more streamlined experience, but it also allows games that are often overshadowed to be discovered. For every game in the queue you can either Wishlist it, follow it, or simply ignore it if you are not interested. Steam won’t show you that game again. The list is updated every day, so you have the latest recommendations.

Apart from this powerful feature, the search function of Steam has got a much needed overhaul. The new search function now allows you search not only with the games names, but also with Tags and descriptions. So typing “controllers” will list all games that have controllers now. This new addition also spreads to the search results page where you can further filter the results with tags to further zero in on the game that you really want.

Another new addition is the post of Curators. Curators are people, organizations, and groups on the Steam community who recommends and reviews games. Their recommendations turn up on your activity feed. So you can follow that JRPG Curator to be on top of every new Japanese game on Steam. Anyone is eligible to become a curator as long as they recommend something via a Steam community group.

This new update, in addition to making Steam much more useable, makes tracking games that much easier without the need for a third-party input. That being said, this update also showcases how Valve is inching Steam towards complete self-sustained distribution platform, which is quite a good thing.

Source: Steam News

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LibreOffice will turn four this year

Thursday 25th of September 2014 05:12:30 PM

The Document Foundation was formed back in 2010, when a team of OpenOffice developers forked the project and created LibreOffice. Since then while Oracle unloaded the OOo burden on The Apache Foundation and the project continued its decline, LibreOffice experienced a steep growth.

We immediately approached the foundation and interviewed one of the founding members Italo Vignoli. It’s been four years now and LibreOffice has become a major Open Source product which is being used by governments and organizations around the globe.

The Document Foundation is doing more than just developing the LibreOffice, they are also creating a positive atmosphere for the adoption of Open Standard Document formats such as ODF. The UK government recently announced that they will use only open standard ODF for all government documents.

“LibreOffice has a key role in reducing the digital divide in countries where the native language is not English”, says Eliane Domingos, a Brazilian native, Deputy Chairman of The Document Foundation. “As a foundation independent from software vendors, we have the privilege of being able to look after user interests instead of running after sales targets or quarterly earnings releases”.

In these four years, the foundation spent most of their developer resources in cleaning up the junk code that piled up in Open Office for decades. While it may appear to an average user that not much is improving in LibreOffice, actually a lot is going on. The below image may explain what’s going on with LibreOffice.

Italo says, “In figures, this means eight major releases, close to 100 million downloads, over 800 new developers, a large number of active volunteers in every corner of the planet, and millions of desktops “migrating” from proprietary to free office suites.”

LibreOffice has achieved much more than that, it has also send a very strong message that an open source project doesn’t need the ‘ownership’ of a company to survive and grow; you can grow big independently.

Demonstrating their commitment to improve the code, the LibreOffice team just announced 4.3.2, the second minor release of LibreOffice 4.3 “fresh” family. Most of the over 80 fixes focus on interoperability issues when reading or writing Microsoft Office DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files.

You can download the latest release from this page.

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Gnome 3.14 Review

Thursday 25th of September 2014 02:26:11 AM

I installed Gnome 3.14 on Arch Linux using Stable/Testing repos and I am impressed with what I have experienced found so far.

Gnome and Plasma are the two leading desktop environments  which believe in two totally different philosophies and thus offer solutions which cater to the needs of a very diverse user-group. As I am growing older I am becoming increasingly interested in every latest technology out there, irrespective of their approach. I try everything and settle down with those tools which are the best ones to do that particular job.

I use Arch Linux, openSUSE and Kubuntu on my systems (I also have a MacBook, purely for film and image editing). This diversity allows me to be fully educated about the strengths and weaknesses of each platform. In addition to different operating systems I have both Gnome and Plasma installed on my machines. I switch between them for the sake of freshness and keeping myself up-to-date with both projects.

Today Gnome 3.14 was released and I immediately upgraded my Arch system using the unstable and testing repositories. It allowed me to test what’s new in 3.14. There are a lot of improvements but in this review I am focusing only on those features which affects my productivity or the ones that I use.

Online Accounts: connecting the cloud with the desktop

Being a Plasma user I do love Gnome online integration with different services, something still missing from Plasma. Online Accounts allow me to connect to my private ownCloud server or public cloud from Google or social networks like Facebook.

I can easily configure and connect to online services and my ownCloud server.

There is an amazing integration with Gnome application. Your contacts, calender, documents, images residing on a server can be easily accessed through Gnome apps.

Keeping up with your contacts

Gnome does a great job when it comes to working with online services. Contacts is yet another area where KDE needs to do a lot of work for pleasant user experience. Configuring contacts on Plasma leaves a lot to be desired, so much so that I gave up on configuring them.

This is where Gnome is unmatched. You configure Online Accounts once and everything works well with the desktop. One of the notable improvements in contacts, in addition to great integration with ownCloud, is “Contact creation now happens in-line, rather than in a dialog, and the setup assistant has been improved. Many dialogs have also been refined to match GNOME 3 design guidelines.”

An out of the Box, virtual machine experience

I am not a huge fan of virtual machines because I want to see how the operating system talks to the actual hardware, so I prefer installing my distros on metal. But there are many advantages, and use cases, where using a virtual machine makes more sense and Gnome’s Box has seen huge improvement in 3.14.

You can now take snapshots of your machines which allows you to save a virtual machine at a point in time and return to it later. You don’t have to manually download images of dirstos; you can simply provide Boxes with the URL of the install image and it will automatically download and install the distro for you. You can also run multiple distros in their own windows. If you are a virtual machine user, you must try it out to learn more about its features.

Next Page – Maps in Gnome

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Seed brings locally hosted internet to developing countries

Wednesday 24th of September 2014 04:49:27 PM

There are a number of ongoing initiatives trying to bridge the gap between developed and developing countries in terms of internet access. We wrote about Cosmos Browser in one of our earlier articles. We found another such initiative to extend the bliss of the information available in the internet to the 4 billion people who don’t enjoy a reliable internet connection – Project Seed. The goal of the project is to let the light of knowledge reach everyone on the planet.

Seed is a wifi hosted webserver. Anyone within a range of ~350 ft. can access the server from a device that can connect to a wireless access point. The distance is enough to cover a large class of students. Seed hosts informative websites like Wikipedia, MIT Open Courseware, ‘Free the Children’ PDF’s and health information on one TB local storage.

Seed is also a LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, PHP) server hosting applications. Seed Chat is the first deployed application. This makes Seed a public forum or an emergency communication tool.

Seed software is a open source project hosted on Github. It is free of cost and anyone can contribute. Regarding hardware, Seed is built using Raspberry Pi, long range wireless antenna, 10,000mAh battery, 1TB external hard drive and various other components required for initial configuration. The scope of future development include scaling the servers, extending the reach and creating mesh networks between nodes.

While Seed awaits its first deployment you can try it out if you have a Raspberry Pi. Here are the steps:

A. Install Seed on Raspberry Pi (two ways):
1. Download Raspberry Pi SD Image (SD card must be at least 8GB):
2. Configure Raspberry Pi as an wifi access point. This will serve as a local offline server.

B. Steps to install the external storage:
1. Once the seed installation is complete, mount a external hard drive to the Raspberry Pi for storage.
2. Download nginx, php, and larval following guides 1 and 2.

C. Run the following commands in the terminal on reboot (this is not done automatically yet):

sudo service hostapd start sudo service isc-dhcp-server start

The post Seed brings locally hosted internet to developing countries appeared first on The Mukt.

Red Hat Linux powering Indian mission to Mars!

Wednesday 24th of September 2014 02:27:46 PM

India has made history today by being the first and only country in the world to send a space craft to Mars in first attempt. The country also made history as it achieved it in a budget lesser than the un-scientific Hollywood block buster Gravity; India spent only $71 million on the mission.

Red Hat Linux powering mission to Mars

What excited us the most was to see Red Hat Enterprise Linux being used in the mission. You can clearly see RHEL in the webcast of Isro where they talk about the mission.

You can watch the webcast here.

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Counter Strike: Global Offensive now on Linux!

Wednesday 24th of September 2014 01:19:22 AM

About 2 weeks back a picture on the internet showing the release notes for Counter Strike: Global Offensive surfaced. The odd thing about the picture was that the release note had a single entry that said that a large number of systems had been updated for the Linux operating system. Although Valve didn’t say anything back then, the release of the Linux version of the latest Counter Strike has been confirmed today.

You can now head over to Steam and download the Linux version. Initial reports from users on Ubuntu seem favourable, with reports of the game running without any problems. Some of them ran the game on Integrated Graphics with absolutely no problem. But, since it’s a new release on the platform, chances are there will be bugs popping up here and there, which Valve should be fixing with regular updates. There’s even a Reddit thread that details the few bugs that have been found till now and how to avoid them.

The original Counter Strike started as a Mod of the popular Half Life game. (Yes, I checked the internet, still no news of Half Life 3, sadly) Soon, the developers were hired and the copyright purchased by Valve and the now legendary Multiplayer shooter game was born. Global Offensive is the fourth game in the series. It runs on the Source Engine and was initially released back in November 2012. Though it took its sweet time to land on Linux, although previous source games were ported quite a while back, some even to Android! CS:GO, as it is commonly referred on the internet is an update to the franchise brining the beloved game to the very capable Source Engine, while also adding extra modes and revamped maps, along with better ranked match making and more new guns! (Because it isn’t a new FPS if there aren’t new guns, right?)

The game is available on Steam for $14.99. The store page however still isn’t showing Linux as a supported platform. A small oversight, which should be rectified shortly.

Source: WebUpd8

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Canonical joins hands with Oracle to support Oracle Linux on Ubuntu

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 08:02:48 PM

Canonical has joined hands with Oracle to offer support to customers using Ubuntu and Oracle Linux as fully supported guests on one another’s respective OpenStack offerings.

John Zannos of Canonical says, “As part of this collaboration, Canonical will support Ubuntu as a guest OS on Oracle Linux OpenStack, and Oracle will support Oracle Linux as a guest OS on Ubuntu OpenStack. Canonical will test Oracle Linux as a guest OS in its OpenStack Interoperability Lab (OIL) program. This gives customers the assurance the configuration is tested and supported by both organisations.”

Ubuntu is the leading OpenStack distributor and this move brings two arch-rivals of Red Hat together.

John writes in his blog post, “Canonical has partnered with Oracle to further the principles of OpenStack interoperability, quality, openness and customer choice – all principles which Oracle, Canonical, its customers, and the OpenStack community value. Canonical’s customers that are already running Ubuntu OpenStack in production, can now add Oracle Linux guest workloads to that cloud with the knowledge that they continue to have a fully supported, enterprise-grade cloud.”

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The first release of QtWayland will have Qt 5.4

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 05:05:51 PM

Qt is a popular open source framework that can run on multiple operating systems. However, till date there was no update on the future of Qt on Wayland. Users of popular Qt applications like qBittorrent should be overwhelmed to know that developer Robin Burchell announced the support for running applications under a Wayland compositor will be seeing its initial release with Qt 5.4. The decision has been taken at the Qt Contributors Summit, 2014. With this, the QtWayland repository is finally about to see the daylight.

The road ahead is not going to be as smooth as it sounds. QWidget based applications may not run flawlessly because most development on QtWayland targets mobile/embedded viewpoints till now. This is strikingly similar to the Wayland development process, which is just starting to make its way to the desktop. Users must consider the initial QtWayland release as a technical preview right now and be ready to face issues.

The second issue is that QtCompositor API in the QtWayland module (which supports writing Wayland compositor) will not be released at this time. The API is not stable enough yet. However, this will not affect too many users other than those who write their own mods for embedded and mobile devices or desktop environments. In addition, applications under an existing Wayland compositor should work fine.

The future roadmap of QtWayland includes (but is not limited to) xdg-shell support, integration with the rest of Qt’s autotests and “official” subsurface protocol support. Suggestions are welcome and the best place would be the #qt-lighthouse IRC channel on freenode.

Robin thanks many of the devs for their hard work and contributions. He is hopeful that this step will help Wayland to keep moving on for bigger and better things. He also expects more contributions from the community with this release. If you want to contribute head on to the QtWayland project page.

Wayland is intended to be a simpler replacement for X, the graphics subsystem on Linux, which will be easier to develop and maintain. GNOME and KDE are expected to be ported to it. QtWayland is a Qt5 wrapper to Wayland’s functionality.

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Fedora 21 Alpha available for testing

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 03:53:44 PM

Red Hat sponsored Fedora Project has announced the alpha release of Fedora 21.

Paul W. Frields of Red Hat asks Fedora users to try and test the release:

We need your help to make Fedora 21 the best release yet, so please take some time to download and try out the Alpha and make sure the things that are important to you are working. If you find a bug, please report it – every bug you uncover is a chance to improve the experience for millions of Fedora users worldwide. Together, we can make Fedora a rock-solid distribution. We have a culture of coordinating new features and pushing fixes upstream as much as feasible and your feedback will help improve not only Fedora but Linux and free software on the whole. At the end of this announcement you can find more information on how to help.

There are now three editions of Fedora – server, workstation and cloud. If you are planning to use Fedora on your desktop then you should be downloading the ‘workstation’ images.

Download images from here.

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Red Hat is all set to become the cloud king

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 03:43:21 PM

Cloud is where the future of computing belongs. Whether it’s consumer or enterprise space, everything will move to the cloud. Every stakeholder is enhancing its cloud capabilities and Red Hat, a company which is a role model for Open Source, is all set to rule the cloud.

The company has been continuously adding more capabilities to its cloud portfolio by acquiring companies. The company is now strategically making a shift from a Linux server vendor to a cloud player.

CEO Jim Whitehurst says, “Right now, we’re in the midst of a major shift from client-server to cloud-mobile. It’s a once-every-twenty-years kind of change. As history has shown us, in the early days of those changes, winners emerge that set the standards for that era – think Wintel in the client-server arena. We’re staring at a huge opportunity – the chance to become the leader in enterprise cloud, much like we are the leader in enterprise open source.”

It’s true that the cloud market is going to be more and more competitive, but Red Hat is different in the sense that it continues to drive Open Source in the cloud space, similar to players like Canonical or SUSE who back Open Source solutions like OpenStack.

Jim says, “The competition is fierce, and companies will have several choices for their cloud needs. But the prize is the chance to establish open source as the default choice of this next era, and to position Red Hat as the provider of choice for enterprises’entire cloud infrastructure.”

While Red Hat has become a role model for other open source companies; it has also become an interesting case for capitalism that proves you don’t need patents, copyrights or close source to become a multi-billion dollar company.

Red Hat has become the first company in the world to register more than a billion dollars in annual revenues purely from ‘fully’ Open Source projects and products. No wonder Red Hat was named the world’s 12th most innovative company by Forbes.

Red Hat knows its responsibility as an Open Source player, Jim added, “We want to show customers that open is better. We are bringing customers the tools they need to build their infrastructure from the ground up with open source, enabling amazing flexibility and choice. We want to be the undisputed leader in enterprise cloud, and that’s why Red Hat is going to continue to push.”

As Red Hat announces its shift from server to client-server to cloud-mobile they are going to grow their capabilities to keep the competitors at their toes, “We’re going to continue to grow our capabilities in OpenStack, OpenShift and CloudForms. We’re going to continue to push our advances in storage and middleware and offer those to customers and our partner ecosystem. We’re going to continue to offer what we see as the best operating platform in the world. And we’re going to continue to work hand-in-hand with our customers, partners and the open source community to deliver the best open source infrastructure stack we can.”

After establishing itself as a leader in Linux server space (Red Hot now also owns CentOS, one of the most popular community-based Linux servers), Red Hat is poised to become the undisputed king of enterprise cloud-mobile space.

The road to Red Hat’s success is open!

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GNOME 3.14 will be available in Debian “Jessie”

Tuesday 23rd of September 2014 01:36:29 PM

Debian Jessie will have the latest packages from GNOME 3.14 despite the recent decision to include Xfce as the default desktop.

Debian 8 or the testing is the next Debian release. The devs and maintainers have agreed to pull in the latest chages from GNOME 3.14 upstream branch. The process might be time cosuming but it will be completed duly. As a matter of fact, some packages have already been updated to version 3.14 as the status page of GNOME 3.14 in Debian shows.

GNOME 3.14 is due in a week and probably the movement to 3.14 will not be completed by that time. Debian is also not the distro where you expect the bleeding edge packages to be pulled-in without a certain degree of certified stability.

However, it will be interesting to see which one of these desktops, GNOME or Xfce stands the taste of the users. You can try out GNOME 3.14 RC Live CD from here. Jessie Beta 1 announcement and ISO links can be found here. There is no date announced for the Debian 8 “Jessie” final release yet.

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Fedora 21 Alpha to be released on Sep 23

Monday 22nd of September 2014 04:50:31 PM

Fedora 21 release schedule saw a number of delays in the recent past. But it seems that things are looking brighter now with an announcement by Ryan Lerch that the Alpha will be released next Tuesday i.e. September 23, 2014.

The Fedora Engineering Steering Committee held a “Go/No Go” meeting regarding the Alpha and finally decided in its favour. They evaluated several items like no remaining blocker issues, availability of release candidate compose, completion of test matrices for Alpha, test results of the install, base, desktop and server versions.

The Fedora 21 Alpha will also be the first test release of the new 3 product Fedora.next structure divided into Workstation, Cloud and Server. The other significance is the lack of a codename. Fedora 20 aka Heisenbug will be the last one in the series to have a codename (of course, if there is no thoughts on changing the norm again). The codenames of the Fedora releases were never very easy to remember either.

Fedora is one of the most well-respected Linux distributions that tends to ship open source software only. The most anticipated change in Fedora 21 remains the support GNOME Wayland sessions.

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Why there is no Netflix on Firefox for Linux [Updated]

Monday 22nd of September 2014 04:43:51 PM

Netflix has been one of the few services or application that hinders the adoption of Linux. Thought its not fully true that there will be a surge of Linux if Neflix, Adobe Suite and other commercial grade applications come to Linux. There is more than just applications – there is marketing, hardware support and much more. But arrival of such applications and services will create a level playing field and then user will be able to pick what’s best for them.

Netflix for Linux is only a few days and that would be nothing short of beginning of a new era for Linux on desktop. It will be interesting to see if players like Amazon, Adobe or Microsoft will be attracted toward this platform and offer their services to Linux users.

Coming back to the point of Netflix, Linux users owe it to multiple players and some controversial technologies. NSS or Network Security Services, the missing piece of this Netflix for Linux puzzle, is a technology co-developed by Google, Mozilla,Sun Microsystem (and Oracle due to acquisition), AOL and others.

NSS was originally developed by Netscape which was destroyed by Microsoft. Netscape resurrected as Mozilla/Firefox and it is a Mozilla hosted project.

Linux users will be able to run Netflix on Google Chrome, which was one of the forces driving Netflix to adopt HTML5 with EME (encrypted media extension which is DRM used to ensure MPAA that no one can copy their work). While controversial, it enabled Chromebook users to run Netflix on their devices without Microsoft’s dying Silverlight.

The irony is Mozilla’s own Firefox can’t play Netflix using the very technology it hosts.

Mozilla is in a very tight and difficult spot, at one hand they don’t want to make compromises with user’s freedom by implementing DRM, which takes away control from a user, at the same time they can’t ignore the market otherwise they will lose market share because they can’t offer what users need.

To strike a balance Mozilla, while also working towards fighting DRM, wants to implement a system which puts the user in control.

Mitchell Baker, the Executive Chairwoman of the Mozilla Foundation says, “We have designed mechanisms to protect the user as much as possible. We do not view this work as fixing the core problems with DRM.  We do however view this design as a  step forward from DRM implementations that are unchecked in their scope. For example:

  • Each person will be able to decide whether to activate the DRM implementation or to leave it off and not watch DRM-controlled content.
  • We have surrounded the closed-source portion with an open-source wrapper. This allows us to monitor and better understand the scope of activities of the closed-source code.

Mozilla is still working on details. Unlike a closed source project, they can’t just implement things. Mitchell says, “The details of the Firefox integration still need to be finalized, and then as with any new browser feature, will be tested for several months in developer builds of Firefox before being deployed to all users.”

It may take Mozilla a while to implement it, but since Netflix is ready to allow Linux users stream their content, it’s good news for the platform. Eventually Netflix will come to Firefox for Linux. I find Mozilla’s solution to be better than what commercial browsers offers, because the user remains in control of their browser.

The post Why there is no Netflix on Firefox for Linux [Updated] appeared first on The Mukt.

Canonical updates nss, brings Netflix closer to Linux

Monday 22nd of September 2014 02:51:31 PM

Canonical developers have acted swiftly and pushed a security updated today (I got it on my Kubuntu box) which bumps nss to version 3.17.x. Now the ball is in Netflix’ court to make the proposed changes which will allow Linux users to run Netflix through Google Chrome.

Any other GNU/Linux distributions using nss 3.17.x will be able to use the work done by Netflix to watch Netflix content.

Nss updated on my Kubuntu

Last week Netflix developer Paul Adolph proposed on Ubuntu mailing list that if Ubuntu updates nss to version 3.16 or above, Netflix will be able to make some tweaks which will enable users to watch the streaming service without any changes to user-agent switching.

Read the whole story here…

The post Canonical updates nss, brings Netflix closer to Linux appeared first on The Mukt.

First beta of openSUSE 13.2 is here

Monday 22nd of September 2014 02:16:50 PM

openSUSE team has announced the release of the first beta of openSUSE 13.2. The final release is scheduled for November. As usual 13.2 will bring the best experience and integration with two top desktop environments – KDE’s Plasma and Gnome.

Gnome users will enjoy latest release which would be version 3.14 (though it has 3.12 at the moment but the team is planning for 3.14). KDE Plasma users will get Plasma Workspaces 4.11, KDE applications 4.13 and Plasma 5.1 or higher for testing along with the latest KDE Applications. There is not much for XFCE users as its will come with the older version because the next release is not out yet.

I am running openSUSE Factory – the rolling release – so I will be breaking the trend and won’t be formatting my machine to upgrade to 13.2 as my openSUSE system is always up-to-date. However, it is very important for those who use point release to test out this version and help developers in finding and fixing the bugs.

You can download the beta from this link.

The post First beta of openSUSE 13.2 is here appeared first on The Mukt.

New features to be seen in upcoming GNOME 3.14

Saturday 20th of September 2014 02:56:54 PM

GNOME user experience designer Allan Day shared a sneak peek into upcoming features in GNOME 3.14 release in the GNOME blog.

The 3.14 release is expected around the last week of this September. Though the release notes will has an exhaustive list of features (as if you are going to wait for that!), Alan shares his personal favourites. As we can see, the next release is going to be a big one with respect to overall polish and user experience.

  • New Animations: A new “swarm” animation for the applicaitons view along with by browse application folders nd application launch animations. Window open and close animations got reworked as well. You can get a feel of the animations here.
  • Google Images in Photos: The GNOME Photos application now integrates with Google photos from Picasa, Android, or posted on Google+ and users can browse their online Google images right from the desktop.
  • Rewritten Adwaita: The GNOME 3 default theme, Adwaita, gets more finesse in every aspect. Progress bars have got thinner. Spinners look different. Switches are slightly changed. Almost every part of the theme has changed in a subtle way. Everything feels crisper, sharper and a bit lighter. There’s also a lot of subtle animations (using CSS animation support in GTK+), adding to the feeling of polish. In addition, around 8,000 lines of CSS have been reduced to about 3,300 lines of SASS.
  • Search More Things: Two new applicaitons to feed results to system search which is just one keystroke away to users all the time. Clocks will return search results for world cities. Find the time in a place throughout the world. Calculator will let users do powerful calculation right from system search.
  • Go Go GTK+ Inspector: This is a new tool for devs involved in GNOME technologies to assist in development and debugging.

GNOME is a highly popular desktop environment for Linux. It comes with its own ecosystem of applications for doing regular tasks.

The post New features to be seen in upcoming GNOME 3.14 appeared first on The Mukt.

BitTorrent Bleep alpha released for Android

Saturday 20th of September 2014 02:56:45 PM

BitTorrent have announced an alpha release of their Bleep software that allows users to have private calls and text based conversations. The app is unique as it sends end to end encrypted messages in a p2p fashion rather than utilising a centralised server as is common with alternatives such as WhatsApp.

People wishing to test the software can sign-up using email or phone number or use the app in an incognito mode which allows you to use the service anonymously (well as anonymously as you can be with an internet connected device.)

The blog post states that you can import contacts on your device and that you can invite people to Bleep via email, SMS, QE code, or a public key. If you login to an existing device on your Android device you shall receive all inbound messages across all devices.

As an alpha it still has some issues “As with any Alpha, there are some known issues and bugs to work out. Android users will need to set the app to “Wi-Fi Only” unless you have an unlimited data plan; this is only for the time being while we iron out and issue related to battery and data-plan. And while you can move a username from desktop to mobile, Bleep does not yet support moving an existing account from Android to the desktop. And while you can receive messages on multiple devices; messages sent will not be seen across all devices. As with our previous release, communications happen only when all parties are online – you cannot send offline photos or group chats asynchronously.”

A huge downside from my perspective is that the app is not yet open source and it’s not known currently whether it ever will be, so while it may be encrypting your messages like it claims there really is no way to verify this. Also for those who do NOT have the Play Store installed it looks like you’ll have to find another way to install the app, a reliable market that I have found is 1Mobile.

You can find out more information about the release here.

The post BitTorrent Bleep alpha released for Android appeared first on The Mukt.

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