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Ubuntu Developer Desktop Survey 2019, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu/Librem News

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Ubuntu
Gadgets
  • Ubuntu Developer Desktop Survey 2019

    It’s clear that a lot of people develop software using Ubuntu. What’s less clear is exactly what sort of software is being built. We see reports of people developing Linux apps, Android apps, web services, self driving cars… the list is huge. We need to get better clarity; to understand how that relates to Ubuntu desktop.

    We can get some reasonable insights from the Stack Overflow Developer Survey, but I’m keen to really dig down in to the Ubuntu community specifically.

    When I was chatting with Barton George a few weeks back he expressed the same interest; what are people doing with the Sputnik machines from Dell? We want to learn more about the sorts of software projects that you’re working on so that we can make the Ubuntu developer experience as good as possible.

    To that end we put together the Ubuntu Developer Desktop Survey to help us understand more about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. This survey is aimed primarily at people who are using Ubuntu to develop software targeting any platform. It doesn’t matter if you do that at work, at home, at school – if you’re building software then we’re glad to hear from you. To be clear: this doesn’t mean we’re abandoning our mantra of Ubuntu being for human beings, software developers are human beings too. Right now I want to get a better view in to what software developers are doing.

  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS has transitioned to ESM support

    Ubuntu 14.04 LTS ‘Trusty Tahr’ transitioned into the ESM support phase at the end of April 2019, and will no longer be supported for users who do not have access to Extended Security Maintenance (ESM) through Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure.

    Ubuntu long term support (LTS) releases provide a stable, supported platform for development and production, with five years of guaranteed public maintenance available. Once the public Standard Security Maintenance window comes to a close, Ubuntu LTS releases have an additional three to five years of support (depending upon the release) through ESM.

    Access to ESM extends LTS release coverage, allowing for continued security fixes for high and critical common vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) for the most commonly used packages in the Ubuntu main archive. This access permits organisations with workloads running on Ubuntu LTS releases to maintain compliance standards by providing a secure environment before upgrading can occur.

  • Don't Hold Your Breath On UBports' Ubuntu Touch For Purism's Librem 5 Smartphone

    While Ubuntu Touch that continues to be worked on by the UBports community remains one of the most viable and furthest along Linux open-source smartphone operating systems, it doesn't look like there will be any solid support in time for launch-day of the upcoming Purism Librem 5 smartphone. 

    Adding to the growing list of concerns over the Librem 5 smartphone is now finding out there isn't Ubuntu Touch progress being made... Last year Purism announced Ubuntu Touch would be supported on the Librem 5 and that the company would "officially collaborate" with UBports. That was back when they planned to ship the Librem 5 smartphone in January 2019 and offer their own GNOME-based PureOS, PureOS with KDE Plasma Mobile, and Ubuntu Touch as options.

  • What’s In a (User)Name

    Using your email address as the discovery tool across platforms makes it simple and convenient to find and communicate with people. As a remarkable side-benefit, it becomes very simple for people to determine the protocol-specific usernames—be those @todd@librem.one for social, @todd:librem.one for chat, or todd@librem.one for email.

    As an example of how this works in practice, let’s say you have joined a room in Librem Chat—a room about a topic that interests you. You meet other interesting people and make some friends; it’s now easy to find and follow them on Librem Social, since the usernames are the same on both platforms.

    A single login also makes things easy for Librem 5 users: when you first get your phone, if you have a Librem One account you will be able to enter a single login and have all of these services light up, ready to use.

    [...]

    Even though big tech firms offer unified login, their commitment to lock-in, proprietary protocols means you instantly sacrifice convenience once you leave their club. Currently, you may be a member of countless private clubs, designed to exploit and control you, and not even know it. If I ask you what are all the ways I can contact you, you will probably answer with a list containing a username on Facetime, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Skype, Whatsapp, WeChat, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest… and a phone number and email, of course. All of these ways to communicate have their own logins and (mostly proprietary) protocols that don’t work with each other. The last one, the email, stands out as it was created as a standard, to allow interoperability across the world, regardless of what client or service you use; the same design choices of advancing standards made it into Librem One.

    So instead of a laundry list of accounts, you can have one single, simple account that offers you all the same convenience of posting, chatting, messaging and sharing. You will be able to do all those things from different applications, but the only account you have to remember is your Librem One account.

Purism’s Librem One suite of apps offers ad-free, privacy-focused chat, email, social media (for a fee)

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

Purism sells a line of laptops that ship with GNU/Linux software and which support privacy features including physical kill switches for the cameras, microphones, and wireless cards. The social purpose corporation is also developing the Librem 5 smartphone, which should ship with a Linux-based operating system later this year.

Now Purism is moving beyond hardware and launching a set of apps and services that it says respect your privacy.

The Librem One suite of apps includes a Chat app, a Mail app, a VPN, and a social networking app. They don’t include ads of any sort. They offer end-to-end encryption. And Purism says it doesn’t track user data.

But since Purism isn’t making any money off your data, they’re asking you to pony up — Librem One is a subscription service.

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Review of the LDK Game open source handheld retro-game emulation console

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OSS
Reviews
Gaming
Gadgets

ETA Prime reviewed the LDK Game, an open source handheld retro-game emulation console that can play games from Nintendo, Sega, and other retro-platforms. It costs $60.

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Also: Open source kart racing game, SuperTuxKart, sees 1.0 release after 12 years

The PinePhone Linux Smartphone Dev Kit Can Run Wayland's Weston

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Gadgets

While on one side of the table is the Purism Librem 5 Linux smartphone on the high-price/high-end side, the Pine64 folks continue working on the PinePhone as a lower-end Linux smartphone. A new video now shows the PinePhone running on Linux 5.0 with Wayland's Weston.

Earlier this week was Purism showing off the state of their software on the Librem 5 developer kit while coincidentally now is a video showing off the PinePhone running on the Linux 5.0 kernel with Wayland's Weston compositor.

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Also: CrickitSnek — snek on the Adafruit Crickit

Purism’s Librem 5 Report

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets
  • Purism’s Librem 5 Progress in Videos

    Nothing shows the progress we have been making quite as clearly as a demonstration of the Librem 5 status from the devkit itself – so let us take you through a handful of (short) videos showcasing the current possibilities and development of our Librem 5 devkit:

  • The Current State Of Librem 5's Linux Smartphone Functionality On Their Dev Kits

    For those wondering how the Linux smartphone stack is shaping up for Purism's long-awaited Librem 5 smartphone that is currently aiming to ship in Q3, the company has released several video recordings of different operations running on their Librem 5 software on their developer kits.

    Shown in this fresh round of video demos is a 10-second boot-up of the Librem 5 phone start-up on their developer kit, receiving a voice call on the developer kit, the SMS text messaging/chat application, web browsing and video playback, and a devkit to devkit phone call.

Jolla and Purism on Their Platforms (GNU/Linux-based OS)

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Linux
Gadgets
  • A Message in a Bottle – from the Mer Project

    I am pleased to announce a significant change in Mer and Sailfish OS which will be implemented in phases. As many of you know Mer began many years ago as a way for the community to demonstrate “working in the open” to Nokia. This succeeded well enough that Mer eventually closed down and shifted support to MeeGo. When MeeGo stopped – thanks to its open nature – we, Carsten Munk and I, were able to reincarnate Mer as an open community project and continue to develop a core OS and a suite of open development tools around it. Over time a number of organisations used the Mer core as a base for their work. However, there was one that stood out: Jolla with Sailfish OS which started to use Mer core in its core and they have been by far the most consistent contributors and supporters of Mer.
    Once again, Mer has served it’s purpose and can retire. To clarify that this will be the official ‘working in the open’ core of SailfishOS we’re going to gradually merge merproject.org and sailfishos.org.

    What will this mean in practice?
    I’d like to just say that the colours of the websites will change and we’ll be able to access the existing resources using new sailfishos.org links.
    So whilst that summary is true, actually it’s more complex than that! Yes, the same hardware will run the same services and Jolla’s sailors will continue to push code to the same systems. There will be more time to keep the servers updated and to improve community contribution mechanisms.

  • The Future of Computing and Why You Should Care

    As technology gets closer and closer to our brain, the moral issues of digital rights become clearer and clearer.

    It started with computers, where we would leave them and come back to them. Then phones, that we always have on or near us with millisecond leakage of personal data beyond human comprehension. Then wearables, that are tracking very private details. IOT devices are everywhere— I have to stop to remind everybody: “The S in IOT is for Security” ~ Anonymous—and finally, surgically implanted.

    A question to consider: What Big Tech Company would you purchase your future brain implant from? This is coming.

    However, I believe we can change the future of computing for the better. Let’s stand together and invest, use, and recommend products and services that respect society.

Star LabTop Mk III Open Source Edition: An Interesting Laptop

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Gadgets

Star Labs Systems have been producing Laptops tailored for Linux for some time. Recently, they have recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for their upcoming ‘Open Source Edition’ laptop that incorporates more features as per the requests by the users or reviewers.
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A Psion Palmtop Successor Has Arrived and It Runs Android and Linux

Filed under
Android
Linux
Gadgets

A lot of people probably remember the 1990s palmtop computers made by Psion fondly. The clamshell-design palmtops were pocketable, black and white, but had a working stylus and a fantastic tactile foldout QWERTY keyboard that you could type pretty substantial documents on or even write code with. A different company -- Planet Computers -- has now produced a spiritual successor to the old Psion palmtops called the Gemini PDA that is much like an old Psion but with the latest Android smartphone hardware in it and a virtually identical tactile keyboard. It can also dual boot to Linux (Debian, Ubuntu, Sailfish) alongside Android. The technical specs are a MediaTek deca-core processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (plus microSD slot), 4G, 802.11c Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, eSIM support, and 4,220mAh battery. The screen measures in at 5.99-inches with a 2,160 x 1,080 (403ppi) resolution. The only thing missing seems to be the stylus -- but perhaps that would have complicated manufacturing of this niche-device in its first production run.

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A developer is working on turning a Nintendo Switch into an Android tablet

Filed under
Android
Linux
Gadgets

The Nintendo Switch is Nintendo’s latest console/handheld, and it’s doing really well for itself in terms of sales and appeal. It also marks a change in attitude from Nintendo as well, as the device is not only powered by an Nvidia Tegra system-on-chip, but the company even reportedly wanted to employ the now-defunct Cyanogen Inc. to develop their operating system. Since the discovery of the Fusée Gelée vulnerability, Switch modding has really taken off in the community. Users have theorized for a long time now whether it would be possible to port Android to the Switch. After all, Linux has been ported to it and the device uses the Tegra X1 SoC for which there is documentation to refer to. All that’s left is the blood, sweat, and tears of developers interested enough in porting Android. One developer by the name of ByLaws is taking the challenge of turning a Nintendo Switch into an Android tablet.

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Can the Pinebook Pro Linux deliver where others fail?

Filed under
GNU
Linux
Gadgets

When everything went online, the need to have an all-powerful computer was no longer that urgent. Today, we can do everything online - from writing, to picture editing, to entertainment and much more.

Tablets became the next best thing, but they, in rather dramatic fashion, proved to be a fad.

These days you rarely see them, gone was the time when everyone was dying to be seen with one. This made way for hybrids, though to be fair, tablets opened the path to low-end computers going mainstream.

This is where the Pinebook comes into existence. Sure, they market it as a tinkerer’s laptop, but, it is, in every sense, a fully working laptop, and by the looks of it, the best contender available to Chromebooks.

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Also: Raspberry Pi Opens Its First Offline Retail Store In UK

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