Thursday, March 10, 2011

...Read all about it!

You may have noticed that I am not posting as frequently as I used to, but let me clarify that's not a sign of this blog slowing down nor dying. Daddy duties are taking lots of time, plus these weeks before distro release craze begins in April are not the best for tests and reviews (most distros are still in Alpha state). Needless to say, distro releases are certainly not the only interesting pieces of news available, so I thought I'd put together an article highlighting some interesting things going on in Linux/Open source World.


Linux based HP WebOS will finally get a real chance of development as HP confirmed it will ship alongside Windows starting next year. The idea is to provide a dual boot setup which should increase chances for this somewhat unknown OS to claim some attention from both users and developers. As its own name suggests, WebOS has a strong cloud orientation, and is a similar concept to Google's Chrome OS. Having said so, HP may be running late already as the number of applications in their store is a tiny 6000, nowhere near the numbers in Google's web store.

For us Linux users this should be nothing but good news, for WebOS should bring enhanced hardware support to the Linux Kernel for any and all HP models. Because such models use components that are also used by many other manufacturers, hardware support in Linux shall experience an improvement.


Clement Lefebvre recently confirmed that Linux Mint (as already known) will not be using Ubuntu 11.04 Unity. The interesting news is that it will be based on GNOME 3.0, but instead of using Gnome Shell, it will stick to the classic Gnome outfit we are used to.


AutoCad clone Draftsight has just been released, offering free downloads and nice support for Linux. Those interested in downloading, simply visit the application WEBSITE and download the packages that best suit your distro (Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva and their corresponding derivatives available).

Here's a screenshot of Draftsight running on ZorinOS 4.

Click on image to enlarge.


Yes, finally! Firefox 4.0 Release Candidate is out there and available for download, as stated on Mozilla's Blog OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT. Those of you who installed the Mozilla PPA to install Firefox Beta will get this latest Release Candidate, which promises better stability and performance, through a standard update.


Ok, this one is exciting. We finally get to see what Nautilus 3.0 will look like once it is finally released. This screenshot already shows how minimize and maximize buttons are no longer available, but also a heavily simplified, more elegant looking UI.

Click on image to enlarge.


So, after a brief and difficult life, Ubuntu Netbook Edition is officially history. Canonical stated on their BLOG that the upcoming Ubuntu release, featuring Unity as the default desktop manager, will cope with any device, from tablets, to netbooks, notebooks and desktops.


As most of you probably know by now, Ubuntu 11.10 code name has finally been chosen. Oneiric Ocelot is the quirky choice, as Mark Shuttleworth himself explains in his own BLOG.

On a different note, Mark also talked a little about Natty Narwhal, to be released some time next month:

"Natty is a stretch release: we set out to redefine the look and feel of the free desktop. We’ll need all the feedback we can get..."

I think it is smart to acknowledge the tremendous task of bringing Unity forward, but is that a hint at things going below expectations? Ever since the Unity move was announced, I always thought 11.04 would be a "skip release" for me. Don't get me wrong, I am actively testing Alphas and want to help make it the best release possible, but I am skeptic it can offer a true improvement over 10.10. Hope I am wrong!


Fedora recently released their first alpha for their upcoming release, Fedora 15. If you read any of my recent Fedora reviews, you probably know I was less than excited with what they had to offer, but it seems this upcoming one may have more beef to it. I am excited to see important updates and additions on many fronts, not just those that developers would care about.

Here's a list of new features, straight from the distro's OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENT.

  • Updated Desktop Environments. Fedora 15 will ship with GNOME 3, the next major version of the GNOME desktop. If you're interested in other experiences, KDE and Xfce will also be showcasing the latest and greatest in desktop technology from their respective projects.
  • System and session management. Previously available as a technology preview in F14, systemd makes its full-fledged debut in Fedora 15. systemd is a smarter, more efficient way of starting up and managing the background daemons relied on by services we all use every day - such as NetworkManager and PulseAudio.
  • Cloud. Looking to create appliances for use in the Cloud? BoxGrinder creates appliances (virtual machines) for various platforms (KVM, Xen, EC2) from simple plain text appliance definition files for various virtual platforms.
  • Updated programming languages and tools. Fedora 15 features new versions of Rails, OCaml, and Python. GDB and GCC have also been updated. (Fedora 15 was built with GCC 4.6.0, too!)
  • Productivity Applications. LibreOffice is filled with tools for everyday use, including word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation applications.
  • Consistent Network Device Naming. Server management just got even easier. Fedora 15 uses BIOS-provided, non-arbitrarily given names for network ports, taking the burden off of system administrators.
  • Dynamic Firewall. Fedora 15 adds support for the optional firewall daemon, that provides a dynamic firewall management with a D-Bus interface.
  • Ecryptfs in Authconfig. Fedora 15 brings in improved support for eCryptfs, a stacked cryptographic filesystem for Linux. Starting with Fedora 15, authconfig can be used to automatically mount a private encrypted part of the home directory when a user logs in.
  • DNSSEC for workstations. NetworkManager now uses the BIND nameserver as a DNSSEC resolver. All received DNS responses are proved to be correct. If particular domain is signed and failed to validate then resolver returns SERFVAIL instead of invalidated response, which means something is wrong.
  • Go Green. Power Management improvements include the PowerTOP tool, which identifies the software components that make your computer use more energy than necessary while idle. Automatic tuning of power consumption and performance helps conserve on laptop battery usage, too!
  • Business Management tools. Tryton is a three-tier high-level general purpose application platform, providing solutions for accounting, invoicing, sale management, purchase management, analytic accounting, and inventory management.
  • New Package Suite Groups. The Graphics suite group has been renamed to the Design group, and the Robotics SIG has created the Robotics Package Suite, a collection of software that provides an out-of-the-box usable robotic simulation environment featuring a linear demo to introduce new users.
Still not a distro I would recommend to a standard user, but I am seeing some interesting steps forward. I am expecting to see the results of Ubuntu's Software Center migration to Package Kit, but since there is no comment about it, we may have to wait until Fedora 16 is out.

...And yes, there are lots more things going on right now, but I picked a few that I consider interesting.

Hope you did too!


  1. Yes, indeed and am happy that the blog is not slowing down, its one of the most interesting out there. :)
    I really like your blog and what is the best here, you are making a really Linux blog not only Ubuntu specific.



  2. Thanks for the support, David, appreciate it.

  3. Well said David. I agree with you that this is a great blog and I visit the site daily looking for the next great post from Chema!