Saturday, 29 January 2011

Full Circle Special Edition The Perfect Server

Well, we finally did it! Check the main Full Circle site for the first of the Special Editions, beginning as requested with the 9.10 Server series, a compilation of articles featured in Full Circle Magazine #31-34.

Other compilations will follow at intervals; so far Using GIMP, Virtualisation and the long running Program in Python (volumes 1-3) are being letter-pressed for future release. If anyone has any requests, we'll look into them. I may take another look at the short photo-retouching series myself... RC

Friday, 28 January 2011

Full Circle Issue Magazine 45 Available Now

Full Circle - the independent magazine for the Ubuntu Linux community are proud to announce the release of our forty-fifth issue.

This month:
  • Command and Conquer.
  • How-To : Program in Python - Part 19, Virtualization : Debian Xen Part 2 and Installing Ubuntu with m23.
  • Linux Lab - Creating a Multiboot USB stick.
  • Review - KDE 4.5 (by some bloke called Robin Catling)
  • Top 5 - Music Annotation Apps.
plus: Ubuntu Women, Ubuntu Games, My Opinion, My Story, and much much more at: 

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Differently Broken 11.04

I'm still updating the Natty 11.04 Virtual machine as I've actually been using it to produce material for the magazine. Unity still works, but only as this bastardised hybrid with Gnome desktop running alongside it; still broken, with random crashes on startup. Ok, the crashed applets all re-load, but now by Gnome session seems unable to retain all the elements of a theme. Any theme.

Work in progress... Roll on Feb 3rd. RC

Monday, 24 January 2011

Android 2.4 Honeycomb Revealed

Android 3.0, the 'Entirely for Tablet' version of the operating system, codenamed Honeycomb is here.

It looks like Tron. Video and images via Engadget.

According to Google, Honeycomb 3.0 is exclusively for tablets, as in not for phones, just as Android 2.2 and 2.3 is not for tablets. The combination of iPad and Tron:Legacy looks alluring for as long as the theme doesn't get old. RC

Sunday, 23 January 2011

NVIDIA Announces ARM CPU for Desktops Servers

NVIDIA has announced an ARM CPU for desktops and servers

NVidia is going beyond GPU's into the CPU market. Intel’s monopoly (sorry AMD) could be under threat. NVidoa aims to sell a  whole new range of devices all the way from high-performance desktops to parallel processing and super-computing. Since others have been rack-mounting its' graphics cards for high-performance applications, NVidia has decided to take a chunk of this market for itself. RC

Saturday, 22 January 2011

France Imposes Levy on Tablets But Excludes Windows

The French government is to impose Levy on Tablets, But Not if They Run Windows

The existing copyright protection levy is imposed on devices that might be used for content piracy. Clearly Windows devices are never used for piracy, then, M. Sarkozy? 

The tax would apply to any iPad or Android-based device, but apparently Windows tablets won't be counted, since classify as full computers. The French-based Archos is among those storming the barricades since it is producing Android-based tablets and doesn't like the fact that its' own government seems to be giving preferential treatment to an American company.

I can't beat Thom Holwerda's summary:
"The content industry is special and needs to be protected against the regular workings of the free market. In other words, silly levies like this ensure that the content industry can continue to not innovate and to not deliver what customers want, which is vitally important for gobbledegook keyboard button calculator humpty-dumpty bazinga."

Friday, 21 January 2011

Canonical Selling An Ubuntu Branded Keyboard With A Windows Key

Why Is Canonical Selling An Ubuntu Branded Keyboard With A Windows Key?

The Ubuntu-branded silicon-rubber roll-up keyboard looks like an excellent bit of merchandising, ten out of ten Canonical Marketing department – but with a windows key??!! Doh!!! RC

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Ubuntu and the Price of Unity

The post Ubuntu and the Price of Unity from Richard Hillesley, provided commentary and analysis of Canonical's decision to go with Unity vs the Gnome desktop. As summarised:
Canonical's decision to go with the Unity shell on GNOME doesn't come without risk. Mark Shuttleworth aims to unite design with free software, blurring the line between the web and the desktop, and make Ubuntu and free software popular among the kinds of user who have never before heard of free software.
It gives some history of the development of Gnome desktops (interesting of itself), but more usefully includes a link to a previous Shuttleworth interview which set the challenge for Ubuntu to overtake Apple in the user experience stakes. There. Somebody actually said it! RC

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

'Fuduntu' Distro Released

A new distro named Fuduntu has been released. It's a Fedora remix in an Ubuntu-stylee. It's not an official Fedora or Ubuntu release.

As lifted from the Fuduntu About page:
Fuduntu earns its name by its design to fit somewhere in-between Fedora and Ubuntu.  It is a Fedora remix optimized for Netbook and other portable computers.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Ratings and Reviews in Ubuntu Software Centre

Ubuntu Software Centre adds ratings and reviews
The Ubuntu Software Centre in 11.04 Natty Narwhal will finally have support for application ratings and reviews, a la Linux Mint.

The current prototype (pictured courtesy of OMG-Ubuntu) looks rough round the edges and has a way to catch up with the Mint equivalent, which I like.

Our concern on the Podcast is the process of mediation by which the flame wars between the application tribes ("my Rhythmbox is better than your Banshee!") can be avoided and good qualitiative reviews can be maintained. RC

Sunday, 16 January 2011

10 Brainstorm Ideas Hitting Natty

Among the news stories in Full Circle Podcast #15 we discussed 10 Brainstorm ideas hitting Natty.

Brainstorm is the ideas wiki which nobody at Ubuntu appeared to be looking at until the Ubuntu Technical Board reviewed the most popular ideas a couple of weeks ago and CTO Matt Zimmerman published on his blog the first of what will be quarterly batches of 10 ideas to come under scrutiny, with an official response.

Among those likely to happen, the first batch consisted of:
~ Power management
~ Networking IP address conflicts
~ Default username login
~ Icons for dead packages
~ Time clock over internet
~ System Monitor detail added
~ Closure messages in Unity
~ Software Center – removal of config files with packages
~ Ubuntu One progress indicator.
~ Performance improvements for media types

You can derive from various responses that Ubuntu "should not require the user to make several (difficult) choices," (Amit Kucheria) and  "it should just work."

We wait to see just how these get implemented in (11.10 for the pessimists and who knows, maybe...) 11.04. RC

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Natty Broke My Gnome

If the whole Unity graphics issue on Ubuntu 11.04 wasn't annoying enough, we get yet more stability issues even if you select Ubuntu Classic desktop. This takes you into Gnome. Sort of.

On both my setups (or at least on the 11.04  virtual machine I have left - I wiped 11.04 on the Pentium-4) entering a Gnome session produces a random number of program crashes. Between 1 and 8 gnome desktop elements crashes with an error dialog. I suppose the good news is they crash gracefully and offer to reload.


Roll on Alpha-2, February 3rd. RC

Friday, 14 January 2011

Atom feed fails in Rhythmbox

A listener to the Full Circle Podcast  gave us a heads-up that  the fullcircle .ogg podcast feed can't be added to Rhythmbox. This is the Atom feed for .ogg audio, our RSS  handles only the .mp3.

It's not just us, so I can't blame Podpress. I've tried around a dozen Atom feeds in the Rhythmbox audio player now and every time I getthe error message:
There was a problem adding this podcast: Unable to parse the feed contents.  Please verify the URL: Would you like to add the podcast feed anyway?
Selecting 'yes' lists the feed but feeds nothing.

Just looking at the headers in the RSS vs Atom feed file, there are small but significant differences, hence the parsing error. I'm guessing Rhythmbox' XML parser isn't configured for Atom, but I haven't found anything to confirm that. Seems like a strange omission. I may go put this to the developers... RC

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Full Circle Podcast #15: I’m in the Mood for Dancing

Full Circle Podcast #15: I’m in the Mood for Dancing is available from the main site

In this episode, Brainstorms, FUD and Media Players

Actually, that's selling it short, this time there's a HUGE amount of content. And that's just Dave wilkins. He is very tall.

There's a massive amount of news, reviews and opinion. RC

File Sizes:
OGG: 46.9Mb
mp3: 40.4Mb

Runtime: 1 hr 24min 34seconds

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RSS feed MP3RSS feed, MP3:
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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Review: Unetbootin

Bootable-media creation utility.

Your first question may be 'why do I need this?'
Answer: when you need to create some bootable media for utility use – say a system rescue on a sick PC or just to try out a new or updated distribution without installing to the hard drive. You don't need to remember a complex set of command-line instructions as this is a convenient graphical user interface to do the job for you.

'But surely, I've got Startup Disk Creator in Ubuntu, I don't need another boot utility?'
'Unetbootin does much more. And don't call me Shirley (in memoriam, Leslie Neilsen, RIP)...'

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Chrome OS equals 'Careless Computing'

I admire Richard Stallman's zeal for all things free in software. Now he delivers a warning against cloud computing - or at least the Google Chrome OS version of it. Google's Chrome OS means losing control of data.

The cloud computing OS released by Google is a plan to push people into 'careless computing', warns free software advocate, reported the UK Guardian newspaper, by forcing them to store their data in the cloud rather than on machines directly under their control. In his original warning, "making extensive use of cloud computing was "worse than stupidity" because it meant a loss of control of data."

Monday, 10 January 2011

YouTube running HTML5 Beta

Adobe flash. The current container for web video, millions of hours of it. All wrapped up in a protocol controlled by one company, delivered through software that is buggy, resource-hungry and closed source.

Except there's now web video out in the wild using HTML5, using standard tagging that HTML5-enabled web browsers understand and codecs that are already part of that browser's collection of viewable formats.

And it's on YouTube. The biggest web video site there is...

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Natty Nvidia Graphics Implode Again

I spoke too soon. Natty Alpha-1 lasted one re-start and the Nvidia graphics on the Pentium-4 imploded AGAIN.

Having dist-upgraded yesterday and updated today, I get a video mode not supported message that won't go no matter what you do with it, and only classic desktop safe mode gives me anything usable. Any other mode crashes the gnome-panel and window manager so you get nothing running at all. Terminal sessions run, but invisibly.

Do what you like with xorg, it makes no difference. And nothing I can do with grub either; at least, not in the timeframe I've got to fix it.

Much as I'd love to do more testing, this is a bit of a rum do...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

I Tweet therefore I am

Couldn't resist the tide any longer. I am now a twit. Which means something entirely different in the UK vernacular.

I am tweeting (kinda) @robincatling. 

Amazingly no other Robin Catlings on the planet beat me to it...

Using the updated website, the process is very easy. I have gone through the confirmation process so I should be able to tweet from the HTC whilst out and about (trying this very soon). Filled out just the basics of my Twitter profile, after all, I hate 98% of people on the planet, so I don't want to give too much away.

Now all I need is a life... RC

Friday, 7 January 2011

Novell Patent Destination

OS-news has unearthed more evidence that the fight against Google and Android is getting dirty. The company that bought a stack of Novell patents is a consortium which includes not just Microsoft but EMC, Oracle and Apple.

With mobile internet is clearly the growth market as far as the horizon and todays 400-pound gorillas want it...

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha1 A Little Closer

Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha1 (Natty Narwhal) - which I was trialling but gave up on - is now a little closer to working!

Having seen a post on Web Upd8 regarding testing Unity in VirtualBox, I found the graphics issue there is indeed fixed and Alpha 1 runs as intended with Unity as default desktop. Sadly its still the crippled and incomplete version, but it is on Compiz and it does run in a VM.

Still more sadly, I put the Pentium-4 physcial machine back onto 11.04 and although there's a recognition of restricted drivers for the NVidia 4800, there's no sign of Unity. Nada. Zip...

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Kno Dual-screen Ubuntu-based tablet

The dual-screen Ubuntu-based tablet the ‘Kno’ is to ship this month.

It's a tablet PC, it runs Ubuntu and it has a double-screen! It's the Kno. Or if you're a KDE user, maybe that's the K-No? Or if youre in rehab, just say No? I don't really know. What I do know about the Kno is it has yet another really daft name.

Designed for the education market to replace traditional teaching aids such as textbooks and notepads with one toolit, there will also be a Kno bookstore stocked with cheaper E-textbooks. Demo models feature a custom interface running on Ubuntu 9.10, which will hopefully stay up-to-date...

Monday, 3 January 2011

Installing Android 2.2 on the HTC Wildfire

[This is a transcript of the tutorial in Full Circle Side-pod #7, the Android Phone episode]

Its the Christmas holidays, there's a chicken the size of a house in the oven and I'm waiting for it to cook. What better time to root the phone and install Android 2.2?

Android 2.1 Eclair on the Wildfire isn't bad. It's actually pretty good. HTC Sense is a pleasant interface to use.  But between HTC and T-Mobile it's an old version. There's still no sign of the over-the-air update to 2.2 Froyo...

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Full Circle Side-Pod Episode Seven: The End of the Shortbread Biscuits

Full Circle Side-Pod Episode Seven: The End of the Shortbread Biscuits is available from the main site.

The Android Phone episode...

Standard Podcast .MP3 Audio Download
Standard Podcast .OGG Audio Download

Runtime: 1hr 1minute 57seconds

* Ubuntu Kno tablet
* Natty Window Controls back in the panel
* Novell Patents Destination
* YouTube HTML5 Beta
* Chrome OS equals ‘Careless Computing’: Warning from Stallman (Guardian)

Review: Android on HTC Wildfire and Nexus-1

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