Banshee becomes Ubuntu 11.04 default music player

After much hard work by the Banshee Project and Ubuntu, Banshee has finally been made the default music player in Natty.

As I am informed currently the switch will hit the next daily image build.

From #banshee
didrocks, gabaug: banshee seeded!
this means that it will be in next ubuntu daily build
thanks to upstream and all the debian mono team for the work :)
Laney, \o/
didrocks, dnielsen: not yet on upgrade as the ubuntu-desktop metapackage isn’t refresh (still pending other change to refresh it), just for new daily build install

I, for one, welcome my new media player overlord

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openSUSE users intrigued by Ubuntu’s popular desktop applets will soon be able to install and use them on their own desktop.

Nelson Marques, openSUSE contributor, is the noble soul responsible for bringing the best of Ubuntu to openSUSE users’ desktops. But why?

I guess it comes down to taste.

Marques is a fan of  the “indicator-initiative”, the simplified menus, applets and orderings for user application interaction that have fast become one of the most iconic pieces of the Ubuntu experience.

Developers now keen to bring this enhanced usability to other desktops serves only as a testament to the impact that the indicator’s and their ilk have had.

Writing on his blog Marques says:

“From my personal point of view… a distribution 'distributes'… and despite this software isn't attractive for some openSUSE users, I'm happy it is available (totally or partially) for all those who want to test it.”

The knock-on effect of wider adoption across distribution lines is ‘more use = more bug fixes.’

The repository containing the ‘Indicators’ is to be available after the next release of openSUSE, due March 16th this year.

Working already

So what’s up and running so far?

The familiar panel line-up of Sound Menu, Messaging Menu and the MeMenu are all, in varying degrees, working well in openSUSE right now.

As Ubuntu 11.04 matures nears the end of April more patches and bugs fixes will creep in thus further enhancing the experience for GNOME OpenSUSE users.

Messaging Menu in openSUSE

Me Menu in openSUSEUbuntu's familiar Sound Applet running in SUSE

Unity is also in the process of being ‘supported’ by the team however the on-going development of it during the coming months may result in delayed availability for openSUSE users.

If your curiosity has been piqued by this project I highly recommend checking out Nelson Marquesfull blog post.

Thanks to Ingo

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Commercial software to Ubuntu Software

With the words ‘app store’ emblazoned across the Internet today thanks to Apple’s launch of a desktop software store, a familiar band of apps and games have also been in the news – albeit due to their collective selves gaining poll position as ‘apps available on launch’.

But what about Ubuntu? We’ve had an ‘App store’ capable of supporting paid applications for a good few months now: will we see some of the more popular cross-platform games and apps heading our way?

It seems so.

Angry Birds

Rovio media, the company behind the hit game ‘Angry birds’, have said that they are ‘looking into’ bringing the game to the Ubuntu Software Centre.


With Ubuntu’s multi-touch framework maturing every week and with more tablets and touchscreen devices capable of running Ubuntu the notion of popular ‘touch friendly’ applications cosy-ing up to Ubuntu doesn’t seem entirely bizarre.

Having just spent a good hour flexing my finger on level 5-11 of this very game I have a vested interest in staying abreast of news on this particular port as and when it happens…

What apps/games would you like to see transition from iOS/Android to Ubuntu?

Thanks to Florian

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Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.07' Coming to ARM

Okay, I’ll admit that I’m a bit obsessed about Ubuntu on ARM and have been scouring Twitter and YouTube for any interesting news from CES.

I just found this gem on YouTube: a dual-core 2GHz Cortex-A9 14" laptop.  Sounds about right to me.

Check out the video on YouTube.
In my personal reading of the tea leaves, Mark Shuttleworth is on a bold mission at CES.  And I think that it’s because of Ubuntu and Linaro that Microsoft felt pressured to announce (rather awkwardly) that Windows 8 will run on ARM.

What do you think?

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Another day and another device finds itself capable of running Ubuntu

This time the device in question is Barnes and Noble’s ‘Nook Colour’ eBook reader.

With its 7-inch colour multi-touch touchscreen the device makes for a comfortable fit running Ubuntu, with most major desktop applications benefitting from the near-normal screen resolution.


Compromises have been made however. As eagle eyed readers will spot from the screenshot above the tweaked-Ubuntu port runs the lightweight LXDE desktop environment.

The full guide on how to install (and deal with) Ubuntu on the Nook Color can be found on the XDE Developer Forums in this thread.

Via XDA Developers |Image devastatorx

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‘Borderless’ themes are all the rage currently.

The Elementary-Borderless GTK+ theme we featured a few days back has been particularly popular with users so it was somewhat inevitable that the stock Ubuntu themes would get the same treatment sooner rather than later.

There is a trade off in using borderless themes as they lack the  ability to be resized windows from the edges/lower-right corner – unless you’re running a patched version of GTK+ that has a ‘resize grip’ embedded in the lower corner.

Annoyingly this is an ‘Emerald’ theme rather than a Metacity one so you will need to be running Emerald as  your ‘window’ decorator in order to use it.

Download @ Gnome-Look

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We wrote about it, Phoronix demoed it. The magic scheduler voodoo(tm)* which brings happiness to desktops that everyone wanted to test at the time..well it may be coming to your Natty desktop.

The good news is that Ingo Molnar, maintainer of the scheduler subsystem in the Linux kernel, has just issued a pull request for the upcoming kernel 2.6.38 which includes this feature. The final call if this kernel will be in Natty is February 1st.

The bad news is that it is currently default off, so unless Ubuntu changes that default this enhancement remains hands off for Natty users out of the box even if 2.6.38 makes it into Natty (PPA solutions likely to become available though).


OMG’er Dennis MH informs us that a version of this feature already is in Natty.

* no voodoo actually involved, magic not real.. in fact just scheduler… sorry
** I do apologize for the title Joey insists on Twitter friendly summaries, which just isn’t possible for such a change, so I am freely admitting that I am riding that horse for all she’s got, just for because this is OMG! Ubuntu!

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Cedega will be free

Commercial Wine software ‘Cedega’ is to “cease operation” at the end of February, parent company TransGaming Inc. have today announced.

The proprietary fork of WINE, which proved popular with Linux users thanks to its enhanced support for Windows gaming titles, will instead live on as a free service under the new name of ‘GameTree Linux’.

In the statement sent to subscribers the company said: -

“…the Cedega Gaming Service is coming to a close in its current incarnation, and will cease operation as of February 28, 2011. While it is never easy to turn the page on such a revolutionary service, we are excited by the possibilities to come as we retool Cedega into a different offering.

Please be assured, Cedega as a technology is not being retired, but rather, it is evolving into a new enablement technology for the Linux desktop.”

Contentious presence

‘Cedega’ was not without controversy.

Although based on code from the Wine Project Cedega was released as proprietary software (thanks to then lenient licensing of Wine). This move that rattled many, unhappy that TransGaming was to benefit financially from the free work of others.

Subsequently the Wine project changed its license to one requiring all modifications and changes made upon it’s source to also be made freely available.


Users who have recently purchased subscriptions are eligible for partial-refunds, and should contact accounts@cedega.com by January 15, 2011.

Thanks to John Hamelink

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Transparent Qt music player ‘MusicMe’ has been forced to change its name.

The change, the result of a trademark dispute with a European company, led to the  the developers turning their ears towards the linguistic worlds of Tolkien for some inspiration.

And thus the new name, ‘LinnyaR17;, was chosen

Despite ‘Linnya’ meaning, well, who-knows-what I have to say it is nevertheless a vast improvement on ‘MusicMe, a name that always sounded more like a bad euro-pop cable channel than an elegant music player.

Fans and followers should update any bookmarks to code.google.com/p/linnya

Thanks to Anthony

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Screenlets, the desktop widget framework for Linux

Screenlets, the desktop widget framework for Linux, was once the apple of eye-candy fans everywhere. Sadly over the last few years a lack of development and direction has lead to the project falling out of favour with users.

But thanks to the work of a reinvigorated Screenlets Development Team new life has been breathed into the stagnant project, resulting in some fantastic new screenlets and changes for us to enjoy on our desktops.

So, in honour of screenlets getting a bit of go again here are five widgets and/or themes I think are pretty neat.


The default Gmail widget shipped with Screenlets is horribly dated and horrendously large. That’s why I’ve swapped it out for this smaller more sophisticated version created by ~luisperu9.

gmail screenlet


Android clock theme

Clocks, clocks, clocks. We seemingly always need to be aware of the time and, for a lot of us, the default clock applet sat within our desktop panel isn’t good enough!

Screenlets ships with a clock widget by default and it comes with a multitude of themes. Most, like the stock Gmail theme mentioned above, suffer from looking  dated or poorly designed.

If you’re an Android fan – or just like the look of this ‘stock android clock skin’ – add it to your clock’s ‘themery’ and make reading the time less offensive on the eyes.

android screenlet theme


Furious Moon

I’ll confess: this Moon phase screenlet isn’t exactly ‘new’ but it does look pretty swish when placed on the right kind of wallpaper (i.e. one with sky in).

moon screenlet ubuntu

Better still it is now included by default in the newly updated Screenlets package – so it’s painless to give it a try.

Wide Weather

Another ‘default’ choice now: meet WideWeather Screenlet. Yeah – it doesn’t look glossy or fancy and nor does it spin, speak or run a set command when it starts raining. But what it does do is tell you the weather without looking garish.

Launch it from the screenlets manager.

Circle Theme for Impulse Screenlet

The author of this theme calls it ‘one of the most amazing pieces of eye candy’. And, to give credit, it is very neat and very bling-y.

The theme works with the ‘Impulse ‘PulseAudio’ Visualisation Screenlet’ (Download here) and adds a cool circular, spinning and audio-reactive visualizer to your desktop.


Installing Screenlets

The best, and recommended, way of installing the ‘updated’ version of Screenlets is to add the official development PPA. This may contain bugs but it will also contain fixes, features and new screenlets sooner than anywhere else.

To add open a Terminal (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and enter the following two lines separately, entering your user password when prompted.: -

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:screenlets-dev/ppa
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install screenlets python-rsvg

Launch the ‘Screenlets Manager’ from ‘Applications > Accessories > Screenlets Manager’

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CES 2011 saw a veritable armoury of Ubuntu powered devices all ready to make a serious impact amongst competitors

CES 2011 saw a veritable armoury of Ubuntu powered devices all ready to make a serious impact amongst competitors.

None, however, impressed me as much as this Table PC demo running Ubuntu as its core OS. It’s pure multi-touch ‘mazingness which, folks, is better viewed than read.

"Table screen supporting as many touch points as you can fit on the screen. Saw thirty touch points (six hands) working perfectly in the demo."

Source: Chris Kenyon

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Okay, so we all know that Natty isn’t going to pop out into release land preamturely.

But for those of us nevertheless comforted by keeping one eye on the prize the following Android homescreen widget has ‘must-have’ written all over it.

It does nothing more than you̵7;d expect it to, displaying a basic text stat on the number of days ‘until release’. All inside an actual Narwhal.

Natty countdown widget for Android


Grab the widget by snapping the code below or ripping some mouse-click foo here.

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Enlightenment based Linux distribution Bodhi has hit Beta status.

The lightweight OS has a few notable changes in this release, not least of which is a ‘first boot configuartion’ wizard that tries to diplomatically tailor Bodhi to your tastes.

For all the wrongness inherent in bamboozling new users with such an approach it has thrown up a few neat things. Well, four to be precise:

Fed up with the constant gripes made against Bodhi’s default theme users now have no choice but to select one on their own – before they can even reach the desktop! With four beautiful new styles/layouts to choose from it’ll be hard to go wrong.

Other changes present include updated packages, a tweaked Plymouth theme and the usual pan-friend serving of bug fixes.

Download @ sourceforge.net/projects/bodhilinux/files/bodhi_0.1.4.iso/download (394MB)

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We’ve fallen in love with ‘Borderless’ Metacity theme mods of late – the elementary example we featured last week was particularly striking.

Rather than wait for your favourite theme maker to add a borderless-variant for you to install why not do it yourself? OMG! Ubuntu! reader zach4618 sent in a super easy guide on how to ‘mod’ a theme yourself.

“OMG! has covered borderless themes lately, and there seems to be some desire for borderless metacity themes (esp. Ambiance/Radiance).

I came across a really simple method of modifying *any* metacity theme to make it borderless.”

Here’s Ubuntu’s Ambiance theme both before and after I ‘modded’ it to lose its pixel-sized border: -

Borderless Ambiance Ubuntu theme

How to make any Metacity borderless

1. Open a new Terminal session (Applications > Accessories > Terminal) and enter the following: -

sudo gedit /usr/share/themes/[theme name]/metacity-1/metacity-theme-1.xml

(note: theme names are capitalized, e.g.: Radiance, Ambiance, etc.)

2. Scroll down to lines numbered 14-16  in the Gedit window that opens.(Don’t see any numbers? Hit Edit > Preferences > View and check ‘Display line numbers’.)

Change the “value” at the end of the three lines in question from “1″ to “0″.

Thusly: -

<distance name=”left_width” value=”1″/>
<distance name=”right_width” value=”1″/>
<distance name=”bottom_height” value=”1″/>

becomes: -

<distance name=”left_width” value=”0″/>
<distance name=”right_width” value=”0″/>
<distance name=”bottom_height” value=”0″/>

3. Save the file and then change your theme using Appearance Preferences.

If you modified a theme that you were already using, you must “refresh” the theme by changing to a different theme, then changing back.

4. To revert back to normal, follow steps 1 & 2 to change the values back to 1.

To overcome the “bug” of not being able to resize the window by grabbing it, you can use:

Alt + F8 or Alt + Right mouse scroll or Right-click title bar > Resize


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Minimalistic desktop panel app ‘Wingpanel’ looks good but remains far too unstable for everyday use.

In the meantime it’s easy to ‘recreate’ the look of a side-bound mini-panel using other applications.

Following on from our guide on transofrming a Gnome panel into a Wingpanel comes this guide for AWN users by ‘IGotNoNick.

Like the ‘text on screen’ tool used in the video? It’s called Screenkey.

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So you’re playing around with Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha and, well, things are going a bit awry. Here are a few useful tips harvested from AskUbuntu that may save you a headache or two…

How do I ‘reset’ Unity?

If your experiments with Unity have led to a things messing up it’s tp://askubuntu.com/questions/17610/how-do-i-reset-my-unity-configuration" onclick="javascript:_gaq.push(['_trackEvent','outbound-article','askubuntu.com']);" target="_blank">simple to ‘reset’.

Open a terminal and run: -

unity –reset

How do I display the date in the Unity panel?

By default Natty’s Indicator clock only displays the time. If you’re forever in a state of time-disorientation you may need to know what day/the date is too.

Although no GUI option yet exists for enabling the date, Jamie Strandboge has figured how a quick hack to enable it.

Open a Terminal and enter the following command to display the date: -

gsettings set org.ayatana.indicator.datetime show-date true

Optionally, run the following command to display the day: -

gsettings set org.ayatana.indicator.datetime show-day true

To switch either/both off simply run the commands again using the ‘false’ suffix in place of ‘true’.

How do I switch back to the ‘normal’ Gnome desktop?

Ubuntu 11.04 still ship with a ‘standard’ gnome desktop – it’s just not the ‘default’. It’s there for users unable to run Unity and for those who, put simply, don’t want to run Unity.

To switch to it simply log out of your Unity session and select ‘Classic Gnome desktop’ from the sessions menu at the log-in screen.

How do I make the launcher auto-hide?

Unity’s slick sidebar can auto-hide when in the way. To enable this feature you will need to install the CompizConfig-Settings Manager application from the Ubuntu Software Center (or by clicking here).

One installed, launch the manager and enter ‘Unity’ in the search box. From there check the ‘Enable hiding’ option and et voila your launcher will now intelligently hide.

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The following theme mock-up by ~RustedThorn may be a tad indulgent on the branding scales, and closing an application via a menu every time would get real annoying real fast, but you know what? I really don’t care. It looks beautiful.


Check out the full image @ rustedthorn.deviantart.com

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Stay up-to-date with the latest news from your favourite feeds directly on your desktop with News – an Open Source RSS ticker for Linux.

The RSS ticker – a thin bar displaying scrolling news feed items your desktop – is light and an extensive set of preferences lets you control the scrolling speed, update, fonts, bar size, transparency, colours, and a whole lot more.

You’ll certainly want to dive into these; the default settings for font, scroll speed and bar size were all rather dizzying on my desktop. A couple of tweaks later and it was looking find – as pictured above.

The default feed is provided by BBC News but this can be changed via ‘File > Open RSS feed’.

Download (.deb) @ newsrssticker.com/download

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Another cell phone has fallen under the charms of Ubuntu’s versatility: this time the Samsung’s Nexus S.

oads/2011/01/DSC00581.jpg" >DSC00581

As with other ports of this nature the end result isn’t meant to be a perfect drop-in replacement for a mobile OS; these hacks exist simply because ‘you can’.

The ‘usual’ bout of apps are present and, to lesser degrees, are usable. But it’s not all cotton candy and Wanda the fish for the port: what one might consider the most vital aspect – i.e. the touchscreen – isn’t working!

The developer assures this will be fixed relatively soon, so eager – borderline crazy – owners of Samsung’s most ‘spensive Google phone will have to wait a bit longer before they can feel the wonderful lag of the netbook launcher underneath their finger.

More information on this specific port can be found on the XDA forum.

If I had a Nexus S I’d be far too scared to touch it let alone install Ubuntu on it. What devices would you like to see Ubuntu ‘hacked’ onto next? 

pictuga, via Slashgear via XDA Forums

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Will Banshee support Photo management?

This is a common question both in the comments here but also in my private mails so I thought I would address it on OMG! Ubuntu! as my first editorial on the site.

Firstly this question stems from reading the slides from Banshee lead developer Aaron Bockover’s GUADEC 2009 talk on Banshee 2.0 (specifically slide 27) and ignoring the past slides as well as the use of the word platform. [more information]

Banshee now actually does Photos, it has been deployed for some months but got very little press adding to the misunderstanding surrounding this question. The 0.7.x development cycle of F-Spot which recently led to their LTS 0.8.0 release involved porting F-Spot to Hyena.

Hyena is a core part of Banshee but has previously been split out as its own separate project and it is part of the Banshee platform Aaron talked about in the slides and on his blog.

Hyena is what allows Banshee its powerful database features and allows for easily created custom widgets and UIs, all of which is now open for F-Spot (and other Hyena using projects like PDFMod) in the future.

So there you have it, Banshee actually already has Photo management support. It’s just called F-Spot.

As for the other items on the 2.0 list from 2009, some came true, some did not, still things happened which weren’t predicted or planned. But since I have fun answering Banshee questions I will leave it to the commenters to pick the next ones.

OMG people, the floor is yours.

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