An anonymous reader writes "The open-source Intel Linux graphics driver has hit a milestone of now being faster than Apple's own OpenGL stack on OS X. The Intel Linux driver on Ubuntu 13.04 is now clearly faster than Apple's internally-developed Intel OpenGL driver on OS X 10.8.3. when benchmarked from a 'Sandy Bridge' class Mac Mini. Only some months ago, Apple's GL driver was still trouncing the Intel Linux Mesa driver."
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Via Phoronix comes news that Ubuntu is revisiting replacing Firefox with Chromium as the default browser. Reasons include that Chromium is the basis of Ubuntu Touch and their new web apps platform, and using a single browser for all versions of Ubuntu would simplify maintenance. From the article: "Expressed shortcomings of switching to Google's Chromium open-source web-browser is that data migration from Firefox isn't too obvious, extensions don't migrate between browsers, Chromium isn't supported on all architectures (e.g. PowerPC), the browser doesn't work with the Orca screen reader and doesn't integrate well for accessibility reasons, there is no native PDF plug-in, and Chromium is said to have worse performance under memory pressure. There were also some concerns expressed about differences with WebApps in Chromium. ... It looks like the switch to Chromium will happen in the name of a better user experience for the desktop with Chrome/Chromium now arguably surpassing Firefox in its features and performance while pushing Chromium as the default leads to a more consistent experience across Ubuntu form factors from phones/tablets to the desktop." The Ubuntu community will have their input solicited as the next step. The Ubuntu Developer Summit session has notes and a full video of today's discussion.
An anonymous reader writes "Ars takes a look at what Ubuntu Touch has to offer so far. From the article: 'It can't be stressed enough that even in this updated form, Ubuntu Touch is nowhere near usable as a mainstream mobile operating system. Canonical makes no claim that it is. For now, the software is about half development environment and half proof-of-concept tech demo. As such, we aren't going to be evaluating Ubuntu Touch using quite the same criteria we'd use for a shipping product—we're going to be focusing more on how the OS looks and works and less on how it performs. As we get closer to Ubuntu 14.04 and presumably Ubuntu Touch's retail availability, we'll certainly be revisiting it with a more critical eye.'"
colinneagle writes with the latest Ubuntu Touch news. From the article: "The team behind Ubuntu Touch (aka 'Ubuntu for Phones') have committed to pushing forward to a ready-to-use version of the OS, one that the group will use to 'eat their own dog food,' by the end of May. What that means: Over the next few weeks, the team behind Ubuntu Touch is going to be attempting to implement enough functionality to make it possible to use Ubuntu on your phone (such as the Nexus 4) on a day-to-day basis. At which point their development team will be doing exactly that." The developers are aiming just to have basic functionality working by the end of the month: calls, sms, data over wifi and cellular, a working address book, and preservation of user data across OS flashes.
An anonymous reader writes "While complementing Debian APT/DPKG, Canonical is now developing their own package format. The new package format has promised highlights of having no dependencies between applications, each package would install to its own directory, root support wouldn't always be required, and overall a more self-contained and easier approach for developers than it stands now for Debian/Ubuntu packages. The primary users of the new packaging system would be those distributing applications built on the Ubuntu Touch/Phone SDK. The initial proof-of-concept package management system is written in Python and uses JSON representation." This quote from the post by Canonical's Colin Watson bears repeating: "We'll continue to use dpkg and apt for building the Ubuntu operating system, syncing with Debian, and so on."
An anonymous reader writes "In a 15-way graphics card comparison on Linux of both the open and closed-source drivers, it was found that the open-source AMD Linux graphics driver is much faster than the open-source NVIDIA driver on Ubuntu 13.04. The open-source NVIDIA driver is developed entirely by the community via reverse-engineering, but for Linux desktop users, is this enough? The big issue for the open-source 'Nouveau' driver is that it doesn't yet fully support re-clocking the graphics processor so that the hardware can actually run at its rated speeds. With the closed-source AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce results, the drivers were substantially faster than their respective open-source driver. Between NVIDIA and AMD on Linux, the NVIDIA closed-source driver was generally doing better than AMD Catalyst."
Jakob Perry organized the first LinuxFest Northwest when he was still a student. He got off to a good start: now LFNW has been running for 14 years, and has retained its flavor as a low-key, friendly conference. Exhibitors from Linux distributions from tiny (CrunchBang) to huge (Red Hat) were on hand for 2013, and enough speakers and topics to fill about 80 different sessions over the two days of the conference. Not all of it's about Linux per se, either: the EFF and FSF were represented, along with a BSD table, and a local astronomy group with a great name. At this year's event I ran into the first Firefox OS phone that I've had a chance to play with in person. Firefox OS integrates Linux by way of the Android kernel, but is otherwise its own beast. Ubuntu and Mozilla contributor Benjamin Kerensa was on hand to talk about what makes it tick, and to give a demo of the all-HTML5 interface.
Barence writes "Ubuntu has shelved the idea of moving to rolling releases, and will continue to release a new version every six months. Earlier this year, Ubuntu developers discussed the idea of moving to rolling releases, with new features added to the OS as and when they were ready. However, In an interview with PC Pro, Canonical CEO Jane Silber said the developers had taken a 'cold, hard look at our long-standing practices' and decided to stay with twice-yearly releases. It has, however, cut support on non-LTS releases from 18 to nine months." Today, the Ubuntu team have released the latest iteration of Ubuntu, 13.04 ("Raring Ringtail"), along with variants like Kubuntu 13.04.
darthcamaro writes "Mark Shuttleworth has taken a lot of heat for Ubuntu's decision to use Unity, to move away from Wayland and about its stance on the community distros like Kubuntu. In a new interview Shuttleworth shoots back claiming no matter what he does people will always find fault due to...'competitive pressures.'"
DeviceGuru tipped us to the release of the latest single board computer from Beagle Board. It's been two years since the previous BeagleBone was released, and today they've released the BeagleBone Black (including full hardware schematics) at a price competitive with the Raspberry Pi ($10 more, but it comes with a power brick). Powered by a Cortex-A8, it has 512M of DDR3 RAM, 2G of onboard eMMC, two blocks of 46 I/O pins, a pair of 32-bit DSPs, the usual USB host/client ports, Ethernet, and micro-HDMI (a much requested feature). Support is provided for Ångstrom GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, and Android out of the box. Linux Gizmos reports where some of the cost savings came from: "According to BeagleBoard.org cofounder Jason Kridner, interviewed in a Linux.com report today, cost savings also came from removing the default serial port as well as USB-to-serial and USB-to-JTAG interfaces, and including a cheaper single-purpose USB cable. (Three serial interfaces are available via the expansion headers.) In addition, the power expansion header for battery and backlight has been removed."
Ars Technica reviewer Lee Hutchinson says that Dell's Ubuntu-loaded 13" Ultrabook (the product of "Project Sputnik") is "functional," "polished," and (for a Linux laptop) remarkably unremarkable. "It just works," he says. Hutchinson points out that this is a sadly low bar, but nonetheless gives Dell great credit for surpassing it. He finds the Ultrabook's keyboard to be spongy, but has praise for most elements of the hardware itself, right down to (not everyone's favorite) the glossy screen.
hypnosec writes "Canonical has announced the availability of Ubuntu Touch for anyone to download and test. The images, which are based on the 13.04 Raring Ringtail codebase, are available on isotracker. Four devices are currently supported, and there is an image for each of them: Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 and Nexus 10. Instructions to install Ubuntu Touch have also been provided."
darthcamaro writes "Red Hat still doesn't have a fully supported commercial version of OpenStack in the market yet (coming this summer) as it lags behind Ubuntu and SUSE. But Red Hat is doing something no other distro vendor has done, they are launching a brand new bleeding edge build of OpenStack that will update weekly (or faster). The best part? This isn't a fork. It's all upstream work, meaning everyone in the OpenStack Community benefits. From the article: '"Our developers will continue to work in the upstream OpenStack, and "whenever we find we need to make changes to make RDO work, we get that work done upstream first," Red Hat CTO Brian Stevens said. "RDO won't change in any way our active involvement in the upstream OpenStack development."'
snydeq writes "We need bare-bones Linux distros tailored for virtual machines or at least the option for installs, writes Deep End's Paul Venezia. 'As I prepped a new virtual server template the other day, it occurred to me that we need more virtualization-specific Linux distributions or at least specific VM-only options when performing an install. A few distros take steps in this direction, such as Ubuntu and OEL jeOS (just enough OS), but they're not necessarily tuned for virtual servers. For large installations, the distributions in use are typically highly customized on one side or the other — either built as templates and deployed to VMs, or deployed through the use of silent installers or scripts that install only the bits and pieces required for the job. However, these are all handled as one-offs. They're generally not available or suitable for general use.'"
dartttt writes "Dell has launched a new Ubuntu gaming desktop (first ever?) . Alienware customers can now choose either Windows or Ubuntu when buying a new X51. Ubuntu option is initially available to U.S. customers only and the price starts from $599." Also in Ubuntu news: Canonical announced on Friday the final beta release of Ubuntu 13.04, aka Raring Ringtail (the main release, as well as the growing flock of other *buntus).
An anonymous reader writes "In preparation for the "Steam Box" game console that will make necessary their own Linux-based software platform, Valve developers have started publishing Debian packages for their platform which looks like their first-generation operating system will be derived from Ubuntu 12.04.2 LTS. So far the packages being published include a new "Plymouth" boot splash screen as the operating system loads, a Steam desktop wallpaper, auto-updating system scripts, and experimental NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers."
In his typical fashion of replacing perfectly working software with useless broken-by-design crap, our dearest Lennart has decided that the time has come for systemd to gain an email program. He determined that the GNU libc was insufficient for the task of a dbus-enabled cpu hogging email client, leading to the new systemd libc: " Technically, this move makes perfectly sense, too. We are sick of supporting unstable glibc APIs and ABIs, and we believe that we greatly benefit from the fact that we now finally have everything the OS userspace consists of in one single repository. Of course, this new libc is not available to Ubuntu and other Linux distributions that have not yet adopted systemd. However, after deliberately choosing a home-grown display server (Wayland) over the generally accepted one (Mir) we decided creating an incompatible libc would be the best approach to create a strong platform following a strict release cadence."
On the bright side "We also renamed the API call creat() to create()..."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm a very new user to Linux looking for a distro that allows me to control and customize, but I'm not sure where to start. I had a friend install Ubuntu 12.04 on my computer, with the E17 window manager and somehow I managed to crash it during the copying of some non-important files and now my computer won't boot (the hardware's fine though). I've found descriptions of Arch Linux to be spot on to what I'm looking for and want (Slashdot user serviscope_minor mentioned Arch a couple weeks ago and it caught my attention), but my experience in the terminal is literally about an hour. That said, I really want to learn more, don't mind hard work, enjoy challenges, and am perfectly willing to spend hours and hours for months on end to learn command line. Any suggestions, projects to start with, books to read, or tutorials to do to try would be appreciated."
jrepin writes "Coffice is a new project that tries to make KDE's Calligra office suite available on mobile platforms like Android, Blackberry 10, Jolla SailfishOS and Ubuntu Phone. Calligra already has some presence on smartphones, since document viewer on Nokia N9 is based on it. The first release brings Calligra Words viewer for OpenDocument Text documents and is currently available for Android only. Plans for later releases include viewers for spredsheets and presentations. Editing and saving as well as support for proprietary Microsoft Office formats are coming later."
First time accepted submitter GovCheese writes "Canonical, the software company that manages and funds Ubuntu, announced that the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will base their national reference architecture for standard operating systems on Ubuntu, and they will call it Kylin. Arguably China is the largest desktop market and the announcement has important implications. Shuttleworth says, 'The release of Ubuntu Kylin brings the Chinese open source community into the global Ubuntu community.'"