Download of the Week: Hex-a-hop

Hello again everyone, and welcome to the second installment of Download of the Week.

Thanks to everyone who provided comments and help spread the word in Twitter land, and special thanks to those who emailed me app suggestions for this week as I have decided to use one.

In fact, this week I will be providing two downloads for your time killing pleasure – one is free and the other is one of the games available for purchase in the Ubuntu Software Center. Without further ado, let’s kick things off with our free friend.


Hex-a-hop is a simple yet fun little puzzle game where you take a little girl hopping across tiles in efforts to destroy all the green tiles on the board. The beige tiles on the board are permanent and cannot be destroyed, but once you have stepped on a green tile, it will disintegrate as soon as you step on to another tile.

There are exactly 100 levels which obviously increase in difficulty as you progress through the game. After defeating a level, one or more levels are unlocked to allow you to progress on your tile smashing journey. If you are having particular difficulty on a certain level, you can usually choose a different path of progression, but if you want to beat the game, you’ll eventually have to return to face your nemesis again. There are no time limits or goals, so map things out, take your time, and dominate.

It’s free; it’s simple; it’s fun. Download it now!


In keeping with the puzzle theme, I thought I’d offer a bonus Download of the Week for those of you who have 7 bones to burn. Similar to Hex-a-hop, Brukkon is a puzzle game where you must navigate a grid to reach the finish line, or in this case, finish tile.

Instead of a little girl hopping around though, you command a rolling robot across 35 unique levels including a bonus level exclusive to the Ubuntu Software Center which is featured in the screenshot below.

Unlike Hex-a-hop, Brukkon is more involved and provides features such as movable bridges, different weather conditions, and disappearing tiles.  The game also provides two different camera angles for you to view the entire board and map out your strategy.
Brukkon and Ubuntu FTW!

Unfortunately, apt-urls are not available for paid items in the Ubuntu Software Center yet, so you’ll need to fire up Ubuntu Software Center manually to purchase and install it.  Brukkon is available on both Maverick and Natty.  For $7, it’s quite the steal.

Well, that does it for this week’s installment of Download of the Week.  Thanks for reading, and if you have an app or game that you think deserves more attention than it is currently receiving, shoot me an email and it too may make the cut for Download of the Week!

Until next week,


No related posts.


Unity panel button replacements for Elementary and Orta

The ability to easily customise your desktop look is, for many, one of the boons of using Linux.

With Ubuntu 11.04′s Unity interface you may have found that your favourite third-party themes – such as elementary or Orta – don’t quite look as natty under Unity as they do under the classic Ubuntu desktop. This is particularly true of the Unity panel buttons of maximised windows, as evinced below: -
elementary under unity
elementary in Ubuntu 11.04 doesn't look quite how it should

But, as all with most things Linux, you can tweak this to suit your tastes.

Replace the Unity Panel buttons

The ‘hack’ we’re featuring is the work of nanabuluku. He’s packaged up Unity Panel button replacements for 3 popular themes – elementary, Orta and Minty Freshness that, whilst not the easiest to install, make for beautiful results…





Minty Freshness



Before you do anything you need to be aware that the following procedure is a ‘hack’ and not a supported theming method.

1. Backup and/or rename the original Ambiance theme. Should you wish to revert at a later date this is important.

2. Extract the .zip archive of your chosen theme download (download links above).

3. Open a Terminal (Application Lens > Search > Terminal) or press ALT+F2 and enter the following command: -
  • gksu nautilus /usr/share/themes/Ambiance

Move the “metacity-1″ from the previously extracted theme folder into the window that opens, choosing to “Merge” and “Replace all” when prompted.

4. Open Appearance Preferences (Application Lens > Search > ‘Appearance’) and select the ‘Theme’ tab.

Drag the ‘Ambiance.tar.gz’, as found in the previously extracted folder, on to the window and drop. Click on any other theme and let it load before selecting ‘Ambiance’ again.

Note: You must select ‘Ambiance’ for this effect to take hold.


The easiest way  to reverse the changes made above is to reinstall the ‘light-themes’ package via the Synaptic Package Manager (Applications Lens > Search > Synaptic)

Tipform via Jason via DeviantArt


[Poll] If we switched to Livefyre for comments…

We’re always trying to improve the OMG! Ubuntu! experience, whether it’s optimizing the site, adjusting layout, or improving the comments section.

We know that our comments section and the OMG! community is extremely active, you guys love having your say and voicing an opinion and there have been some completely awesome discussions take place in the comments down there.

The other day I stumbled across Livefyre, a new comments system that puts social, real time commenting at the top of its priorities. It has nifty features that our current comments system (Disqus) can’t provide, and features that we think will enhance the commenting experience greatly.

Disqus in itself is a great commenting system, and there’s nothing wrong with it – the old adage says “don’t fix what ain’t broke” and we completely agree with that. But we think Livefyre does everything Disqus does, and more.

If we switched to Livefyre, all the existing comments would be imported into Livefyre so we wouldn’t lose them which is good. You’ll also be able to sign in with OpenID even though Livefyre doesn’t officially support it as an option yet.

tl;dr – Livefyre is cool.

Livefyre features

You can read the features here, but these are what we’re specifically interested in:
Live comment updating

No more page refreshes for you guys to see the latest comments, and less load on our server.
Tagging in comments

You can tag your Facebook friends, people you follow on Twitter and other Livefyre users in comments by using the @ symbol, and then they’ll be invited to join the conversation. We think this could be really, really useful – for example, if you were replying to somebody asking about Elementary OS, you could say:

“I don’t know much about it, but @DanRabbit might know more.”

And Daniel will be invited into the conversation, adding to the discussion.

Number of listeners count

Above the thread there’s a number that shows how many people are listening to the conversation, but not taking part. We think this could be a really cool way of showing how popular a comment thread is and encourages more people to join in knowing that their comments will be read.
Sharing of individual comments

Livefyre has the ability to share individual, unique comments on Twitter, Facebook, etc. If somebody makes a really valid point in the comments section and you think the world just has to read it, then sharing it is only one click away.
Everything Disqus does already

As you would expect, Livefyre has everything that you’re used to in Disqus – comment “likes,” user ratings, nested replies, spam filtering, social logins, abusive comment flagging, a mobile version, email notifications, gravatar support, comment link anchoring etc.
They’re really friendly

I’ve been talking to the CEO of Livefyre on Twitter over the last couple of days, asked questions in their Get Satisfaction account and had prompt replies and generally get the feeling they care about their community.

Will you let us give Livefyre a go?

The only downside is that you won’t be able to use your Disqus account to log in to comments on OMG! Ubuntu! anymore. Instead, you’ll have to create a Livefyre account or use Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedin or OpenID to log in.

We want to know if you’d be willing to drop your Disqus account to comment here on OMG! Ubuntu!

Thanks for your help!


Chromium Daily adds Unity progress bar and badge support

The latest daily builds of Chromium come with a neat gift for Natty users – Unity Launcher progress bar and badge support for active downloads. lay: block; float: none; border-top-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; margin-left: auto; border-left-width: 0px; margin-right: auto; padding-top: 0px" title="image" border="0" alt="image" src="http://cdn.omgubuntu.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/image_thumb1.png" width="142" height="205" /> This is the second Unity-specific feature to land in Chromium. Ubuntu Application Menu support landed in the ‘about:flags’ staging area back in mid-April.


You can install/upgrade to the latest Chromium Daily build using the Chromium Daily builds PPA: -

Nicolás M. Via Tipform


Adobe on Creative Suite for Linux: "No plans"

The on-going campaign to persuade Adobe to release (at least parts) of their ‘Creative Suite’ software on Linux is beginning to resemble a game of tic-tac-toe: One second it appears to be going one way and then, slam, a big fat ‘X’ falls down, and the game is off in a different direction.

Adobe’s Carey Burgess, having earlier this year said that Creative suite for Linux was ‘definitely on the[ir] engineers radar’ has, once again,  taken to Adobe’s Get Satisfaction page to give Linux users an update on the situation.

Only this time things are not quite as optimistic sounding as before, with Burgess saying: -

Adobe does not currently have any plans to release Creative Suite on Linux.

Of course, this isn’t actually “news” at all; Adobe never said Creative Suite was Linux bound only that engineers were aware of the demand from Linux users.

And that is still the case: you’re making your voices heard and Adobe are listening.


Volley Brawl update adds new characters, stages, changeable difficulty

The venerable Tommy and Bart from Sigmoid have updated Volley Brawl this week with new 7 new characters, user modifiable stages, changeable difficulty and a host of bug fixes.

The new characters include Tux, Trollface, Hatguy (bearing some resemblance to the Red Hat mascot) and Pjotr, whom you might recognize from a certain cartoon show.

They’ve also added changeable difficulty which adjusts the speed of the gameplay – something that a lot of people wanted when the game was first released. Now, when you set it to Hard the gameplay is much faster.

Another nifty feature is the official announcement of website volleybrawl.me which lets you create and upload your own characters for inclusion in the game in future updates.

Bug fixes include fixing the icon in Unity, better cloud coverage, and smarter resource loading.

Here’s the full list of changes:

New features

  • 7 new Brawlers
  • User-moddable stages
  • New night-time stage
  • Three new difficulties
  • Submit your own brawlers to volleybrawl.me

Bug fixes

  • Fixed icon in Unity
  • More or less guaranteed cloud coverage
  • No pausing when using media keys
  • Settings are now saved
  • Changed end game message to be more clear as to who won
  • Smarter resource loading (faster startup time)

People who have already bought the game should see the update in Update Manager now, and if you haven’t bought the game yet, it’s only $2.99 from the Ubuntu Software Center.

It’s a great way to support indie game developers like Tommy and Bart (they’re nice guys, honest!) and since we’re the publisher, buying Volley Brawl is a cool way to help support OMG! Ubuntu! financially too.


[How to] Run KDE Plasma Widgets in Ubuntu Unity

We all like a bit of desktop bling on our otherwise standard looking desktops, and despite the recently-revived Screenlets project boasting a noble, if belated, entry there is still no competitor to style and variety of KDE’s “Plasma widgets”.

The good news is that You can run KDE Plasma widgets in Ubuntu 11.04.

KDE Plasma Widgets on the Ubuntu desktop

What’s the catch?

Whilst one doesn’t need replace GNOME, Unity, Nautilus, etc with KDE counterparts you do need to concede your ‘desktop’ space (‘desktop’ as in the place you keep your shortcuts, icons, files, etc) to the Plasma Desktop.

The Plasma desktop works a bit differently to the default Ubuntu desktop. Right clicking on it, for example brings up the following menu: -

You won’t lose any major functionality – the Unity launcher, panel, etc will all look and behave as normal – you just need to ‘remember’ the the desktop space works a little differently and uses its own wallpaper.

Add Plasma Widgets to Ubuntu 11.04

Okay, lets add some Plasma widget-y goodness to your Ubuntu 11.04 Unity or Unity 2D desktop. We need to install plasma-desktop and its dependencies.

Hit the button below to install it through the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Create a desktop launcher

As we don’t want the Plasma Desktop to run on start-up, but rather when we want to use it, we’ll create a desktop shortcut to launch it quickly.
  • Right click on an empty area of the desktop and choose ”create launcher’.
  • Name the launcher ‘Plasma Desktop’
  • Enter the command ‘plasma-desktop’ (minus the quotes)
  • Click ‘OK’.

Double-click on this to launch the Plasma Desktop.

Switching it off

Repeat the process above but using the name ‘Close Plasma Desktop’ and the command ‘killall plasma-desktop’ to create a shortcut for exiting and returning you to the regular Ubuntu desktop.

Make things look right

To get Plasma widgets looking as ‘native’ as possible we can do two things.

First enable the ‘GTK+’ style for Qt applications via: -
  • System Settings > Application Appearance > Widget Style > GTK+

Next we’ll install an Ambiance-themed ‘Plasama’ style. KDE makes installing extra themes incredibly easy.
  • System Settings > Workspace Appearance > Desktop theme > Get new theme
  • Search for ‘Ambiance’
  • Hit install
  • Select it in the ‘Desktop theme’ pane

The Plasma desktop panel sat at the bottom is superfluous to our needs. Right click on an empty space on the panel, and choose the ‘Remove this Panel’ option tucked under ‘Panel Options’.

With Ubuntu having a panel on top we need to move the ‘Activity Button’ down to bottom of screen (or wherever else you’d prefer to have it) for easier access. Just click on it and drag.

Launching and adding Widgets

Hit the ‘Activity button’ and choose ‘Add Widgets’. A bar will popup at the bottom of the screen with a selection of widgets. Drag them off of the bar and onto your desktop to use.

Want more? Click the ‘Get New Widgets’ button to browse and install from a huge selection.

Fixing minor issues

Running a “hybrid” desktop such as this isn’t without faults. If you find fonts in some GTK applications to look “off” simply adjust the font Anti-Alias settings.

Another gripe is that the Unity Launcher will sometimes retain the background of the GNOME desktop wallpaper; jarring if you use a different one in Plasma. Applying the same wallpaper in both renders this fault ‘seamless’.


GTA2 inspired ‘Greedy Car Thieves’ gets release date; Linux beta

Running amok in Ubuntu need no longer be confined to running risky Terminal commands or toying with your GRUB menu with the beta release of ‘Greedy Car Thieves’ – an upcoming action game inspired by the pre-millennial action smash GTA2.

screenshot13-w1000.jpg" > screenshot13-w1000

With a top-down game style; users are free to create mayhem throughout the paradise city in a multiplayer melee – with a variety of game maps and play-modes  available, with ‘Free for all’, ‘Deathmatch’ and ‘Capture the flag’ but three.

A single player storyline is also planned.

Other features include: -
  • Cars, weapons, power-ups and destructible objects for varied gameplay
  • Precise aiming mode
  • Visual effects including ambient occlusion, dynamic per-pixel normal-mapped lighting, real-time dynamic shadows (cars headlights and sunlight with varying day-night cycle), water reflections, and more
  • Online  networking providing continuous multi-player gameplay
  • In-app map editor
  • Multiplatform (Linux, Windows and OS X)


Talking to DrivingGamesPro, the developers behind GCT are upfront about the inspiration of GTA2, which is available for free from Rockstar Games, and Greedy Car Thieves: -

“We spent many, many hours playing the multiplayer mode (via LAN) of GTA2 and had a huge amount of fun. Unfortunately, the networking in GTA2 is really screwed up (due to the very slow and deprecated DirectPlay engine).

This was the main reason for creating Greedy Car Thieves. We were also able to implement some really nice graphical effects because graphics hardware has evolved so quickly.”

Release date

So when can you get it? The developers have earmarked July 2011 as the release date proper, although a development beta is currently available for download.

The multiplayer version of the game is to be released for free, with the the in-game city enriched with advertising to pay for development costs. The  expected cost for the single player game (which will also come with the free multiplayer version) is targeted at the insanely low $5/£5/€5 (respectively).

Any good?

Despite having not played GTA2 for a very long time I have to say that the developers of Greedy Car Thieves have not only evoked what made GTA2 so awesome to play, but have also bettered it in so many areas – from the obvious, such as graphics and game physics, to simple additions such as better power ups and better aiming/targeting.

Download the beta

Whilst Greedy Car Thieves is under development a free multiplayer beta is available for download at the link below.


UnityFox plugin for Firefox puts download Progress on the Unity Launcher

Yesterday we shared news that the daily builds of Chromium web browser have added download progress bar and badge support for Ubuntu 11.04′s Unity Launcher.

But what about Firefox users? />
Say hello to UnityFox – a plugin for Firefox 4  that adds a download progress bar and count badge to the Firefox Launcher icon in Unity.

The plugin can be "pulled" and compiled manually from the Launchpad site (here) or, for the lazy amongst us, downloaded from the Firefox Addons website.


You will need to restart Firefox for the plugin to ‘take effect’. Also note that the badge/progress bar don’t show for super-quick downloads.


Mark Shuttleworth talks Windicators, changes for Unity in Oneiric, and whole lot more…


GRUB customizer app makes tweaking your bootloader a breeze

Tweaking GRUB can be a scary thing to do and an easy way to brick your bootloader. But it needn’t be.

‘Grub Customizer’ aims to make it a bit easier, providing a graphicl interface for allows for changing/setting various grub2/burg settings, including: -
  • Default boot item
  • Timeouts
  • Menu visibility
  • Screen resolution
  • Background image
  • Colors (grub2 only)

An in-depth guide to getting the most of Grub Customizer can be found on the Ubuntu Forums [Link].


Grub Customizer is available to install via PPA for Ubuntu 9.10, 10.04, 10.10 and the newly released 11.04.

Just add ‘ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer’ to your Software Sources, run an update to refresh your package lists then search for ‘grub customizer’ and hit in stall.

Alternatively, having added the PPA and refreshed, click the button below to install.

Click to install grub-customizer


[How to] Disable the ‘resize grip’ in Ubuntu 11.04

Ubuntu 11.04 saw ‘resize grips’ introduced to the bottom right corner of GTK+ applications in order to make resizing windows that little bit easier.

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Not everyone is a fan of the “look”, though. Indeed, in some applications it tends to stick out like a sore thumb!

Disabling the grip, whilst costing you a more precise target for resizing, is an easy ‘hack’ to accomplish.
  • Open your Home folder
  • Press CTRL+H to reveal ‘hidden’ files
  • Locate the file named ‘.gtkrc-2.0′ (or create it if it is not there)
  • Right click on it and open with Gedit/text editor
  • Add the following code:

style "default-style" { GtkWindow::resize-grip-height = 0 GtkWindow::resize-grip-width = 0 } class "GtkWidget" style "default-style"

To re-enable the Grip just delete the above code from the file.

Anup via Tipform


Mimic the look of Ubuntu’s Overlay-scrollbars in Chrome/ium

Chrome/ium doesn’t use Ubuntu’s new Overlay Scrollbars which is a shame: thy’re cute, slim and awesome to use.

Whilst we can’t enable overlay scrollbars themselves in Chrome/ium we can at least match the look, courtesy of reader Micha R who mailed in just how to do this…

Mimic Ubuntu 11.04 overlay-style scrollbars in Chrome/ium

First step is to install this ‘Scrollbar minimizing’ extension in Chrome/ium.


After installing we’ll change the colour to Natty orange. Hit ALT+F2 or open a terminal and enter: -
  • gedit ~/.config/chromium/Default/Extensions/ojmmnceaidnmminjjffpndcbdibelgam/1.0_0/css/scroll-bars.css

For Google Chrome users use: -
  • gedit ~/.config/google-chrome/Default/Extensions/ojmmnceaidnmminjjffpndcbdibelgam/1.0_0/css/scroll-bars.css

In the file that opens change “#666″ in lines 16 and 22 to “#F07746″ and hit save.

To see line numbers in Gedit enable ‘line numbers’ in ‘Edit > Preferences’

Restart chromium and violá – Natty-style scrollbars.


Canonical CTO Matt Zimmerman stepping down

One of Canonical’s founding members and current CTO (Chief Technology Officer), Matt Zimmerman, is to leave the company after seven years.

In a statement published on the Canonical blog this morning, Matt spoke of his reason for leaving, saying that the ‘the time is right for [him] to move on’ and go  in ‘search of new challenges’.

He will formally leave the position in June of this year.

Wikipedia states that, in his capacity at Canonical, Matt oversaw ‘…technological decisions related to the development and release of Ubuntu.’

In his statement he is positive about his time working at Canonical, calling it a ‘pleasure’, and that he is ‘immensely proud’ of what the project has achieved so far.

477px-Matt_Zimmerman_(cropped)It’s not adieu completely, however. Matt says that he intends to ‘remain involved in the Ubuntu community’ as part of the ‘governing Technical board’.

He will also be in attendance at next weeks Ubuntu Developer Summit where details of the next version of Ubuntu, due for release in October, will be discussed.

Here’s wishing Matt good luck in his future endeavours.

Matt Zimmerman via Canonical


Chromium Daily build adds Unity Quicklist

Adding even more reason for switching to Chromium in Ubuntu, the latest Daily build of the browser has added a Unity Quicklist to the launcher icon, courtesy of target="_blank">Fabien Tassin.

Chromium daily adds Unity quicklist

Three options are available, including easily launching a ‘new window’, opening a window in ‘incognito mode’ for private browsing and the option of opening a window with a ‘temporary profile’ – useful for evaluating performance and/or behaviour of ‘stock’ Chromium.

This is the third Unity-specific feature to be added to Chromium, following experiential support for the Application/Global Menu and on-launcher download progress bar and badges.

Chromium Daily can be installed by adding and install from the Chromium Daily PPA @ launchpad.net/~chromium-daily/+archive/ppa


Quickly adjust the number of workspaces in Unity with Indicator-Workspaces

George Dumitrescu has released version 0.6 of his ‘Indicator Workspaces’ applet for Ubuntu 11.04 users.

Indicator workspaces in <span class=Ubuntu 11.04" width="284" height="364" />

The applet allows Ubuntu 11.04 users to customize the number of workspaces and rows used by the Unity ‘Workspace Switcher’, as well as switch between workspaces themselves directly from the panel.


Indicator Workspaces can be added via PPA(version 0.6 is Ubuntu 11.04 only; earlier versions available for Ubuntu 10.04 and 10.10)

Add ‘ppa:geod/ppa-geod’ to your Software Sources [How? See here], update and then search for ‘indicator workspaces’ in the Ubuntu Software Centre.

Alternatively download the .Deb package from launchpad.net/~geod/+archive/ppa-geod/+files/indicator-workspaces_0.6_all.deb, double clicking on the file to install.


‘QtQr’ app quickly creates and decodes QrCodes in Ubuntu

We’ve written about several tools that makde creating Qrcodes – 'two-dimensional barcodes made up of black squares on a white background – in Ubuntu easy, but the following tool, QtQr, beats them all hands down.

Along with the ability to quickly create custom QrCodes containing text, URLs, e-mail, SMS and telephone numbers QtQr also comes with a ‘decoding’ feature. 

You can use your webcam to decode a QrCode (for example, one you find in a magazine) or you can used a saved Qrcode image.

For example: I saved the ‘QrCode’ from our Android Application announcment post to my desktop, opened QtQr and selected it for decoding. A split second later a pop-up told me what it contained: -

Decode QRCode in Linux with QtQr

Very neat.


You can try it yourself by installing the app from the application’s stable PPA.

Add ‘ppa:qr-tools-developers/qr-tools-stable‘ to your Software Sources, update and then search for and install ‘QtQr’ via the Ubuntu Software Centre.

The code is also available on Launchpad @ launchpad.net/qr-tools


Ubuntu One style Nautilus Elementary theme [Download]

It’s no secret that I love the new look Ubuntu One Control Panel in Ubuntu 11.04: it’s slick, integrated and raises the overall sheen of the Ambiance theme in Ubuntu.

DeviantArtist simplygreat likes it too. So much that he’s created a simple ‘hack’ for Nautilus-Elementary that brings the style of the Ubuntu One Control Panel to the popular file-browser Nautilus-Elementary.



Get the look

Applying the ‘hack’ yourself isn’t that difficult. You’ll need to be running Ubuntu 11.04, using the default Ambiance theme and have Nautilus-Elementary installed.

You’ll also need to be brave as it requires overwriting a few of the default Ambiance theme files – so be sure to make a back up before replacing anything!

Instructions and file downloads can be found @ simplygreat.deviantart.com


Overlay Scrollbars get first improvements for Ubuntu 11.10 [Video]

Ubuntu’s Andrea Cimitan has published a video demonstrating initial improvements to the ‘Overlay Scrollbars’ ahead of Ubuntu 11.10.

Now boasting updated visuals, including an orange border around the ‘thumb’ when dragging, and improved screen-edge behaviour are demonstrated in the video below.


“The thumb features an orange border which becomes grey when the overlay is detached from the thumb (like when clicking pageup/down buttons, or scrolling the wheel on the thumb). “

In the context of the much cited ‘Fitts law’ Cimi offers further explanation: -

“The thumb is bounded within the screen. With this behavior the ayatana overlay scrollbars can be even more usable than native scrollbars, because Fitts’s law is preserved even when the scrollbar is not touching the edge of the screen (few examples: gedit or others apps where the scrollbars are not touching the screen, or on any windows not maximized but close to the screen width).

Also, the thumb is now placed over the overlay, that means you don’t have to aim to the overlay and then move right, cause you’ll immediately catch the thumb. A real pleasure to use.”


Sessions planned for Ubuntu Developer Summit – Oneiric

The Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) for Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot is starting next week, running from Monday 9th of May to 13th of May.

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An exciting time in the Ubuntu calender year, UDS is where most of the important decisions are made for the next Ubuntu cycle. If you are an enthusiast or interested in Ubuntu 11.10, you might want to keep track of all the developments.

We’ll be running the hub throughout the week which should be a great place for you to land on with aggregate information from Twitter and identi.ca, the latest news from UDS, IRC webchat and, if we get it working in time, a localized session schedule to make remote participation easier.

If you’re really interested in Ubuntu’s development you may even want to set the hub as your home page!

With no further delay, let’s have a look at some of the most interesting sessions that will be happening throughout the week.


Improve Ubuntu One’s integration with Unity

This should be a good session to see the future of Ubuntu One.
Feedback on Natty Release and Improvements for Oneiric

It’s a retrospection session in which the release team can identify their mistakes from the Natty cycle just passed and learn from them to improve the next cycle.
General Wayland kicking around session

This session could be interesting because Wayland is supposed to be a way forward. It will affect every distro and the migration is probably going to be problematic.

If you’re interested in Wayland, Alberto Ruiz – the person who did the LibreOffice integration with Unity tried it out. You can read his experiences here.
Maturity ratings for applications and other software

A few of you might have seen this bug report, Dash search unavoidably returns offensive results. This session is aimed to discuss the issue even though the bug report shows Issue Resolved.

Déjà Dup Backup Tool by default

Many Ubuntu users have been calling for a simple backup tool to be enabled by default for a long time.

Déjà Dup is a simple backup tool which is proposed to be integrated and enabled during the installation. If any of you want to make sure it gets in to Ubuntu, please attend remotely if possible and +1 it!
Gracefully show Ubuntu One storage plan upgrades and quota changes in the desktop

This warrants a session. Throwing a big fat “Upgrade” button is surely going to piss off a lot of users. On the other hand, if the upgrade plans are never shown, then anyone with an intention of upgrading their plan might not know what to do.


Initiatives to involve new developers

This is a session on probably the toughest question with the toughest answer – “How to get more people involved.”
DEX – Improving Cross Community collaboration with Debian

DEX is an initiative for collaborating between Ubuntu and Debian by merging patches, sponsorship of upload etc. If you have never heard about DEX, then you might want to read this blog post by Matt Zimmerman.
Integrate Lubuntu into Ubuntu ecosystem

How many of you love Lubuntu?

Recently in a mail sent to Ubuntu Technical Board, Julien Lavergne expressed that Lubuntu would like to become an official Ubuntu flavour and by being a non-offical flavour, what resources they cannot use. He then pointed out what all they have done to warrant that privilege. Mark gave an encouraging reply.

This is probably the track which has to cover a lot of work. Oneiric will have GNOME3 stack. PyGtk2 apps have to updated to PyGI – especially Software Center. Apport and Jockey are already done. If you would like to help porting then you can try to get your hands dirty with this short introduction to Python GObject Introspection session by Martin Pitt.
Growing Community contributions for Unity

During the last cycle, Jorge was on the forefront in helping Unity bitesize contributors. This session is about how to take that initiative forward.
Add music discovery service

From the description “Add a music discovery service that makes all the user’s music searchable and playable, whether it’s on any of his machines, stored in the cloud, or provided by a service or webpage.”


Review Sponsorship Process

If you ever want your patches to be accepted, you need to get sponsored. Due to high traffic of patches, they get lost. Read more about Patch Pilot Programme in this blog post by Daniel Holbach.


Default e-mail client

This session is to decide whether Ubuntu should go with Evolution or Thunderbird as the default email client in Ubuntu. Both have their pros and cons.

Evolution is better integrated with the desktop and has Exchange support. On the other hand its UI is confusing and it is a slow application.

Thunderbird has a few issues such as lagging behind Evolution in desktop integration, no exchange support, and it has a huge installation size.

Personally I have 4 email-accounts with Thunderbird and it succeeds in downloading mails in all of them whereas Evolution just freezes. I have tried Evolution in every release since 6.06 but still I am sticking with Thunderbird because of a simple reason It works for me.

Lenses for O

This session is on discussion related to Unity Lenses. There are already a few lenses available and you can write more if you want.
Integration of default apps with Unity

Integration of default applications are important for a consistent user-experience.
Ubuntu Membership behavior and Code of Conduct outside Ubuntu.com community

There is a bit of confusion on where the Ubuntu Code of Conduct is applicable. This session looks like it’s on discussing and clearing doubts regarding the Code of Conduct and Membership.
OneConf in Oneiric

This blueprint had been postponed from the Natty cycle. Check out this whiteboard to understand it better.
Reducing number of patches in our packages

Maintaining patches downstream is tough but sometimes unavoidable. Getting them upstream takes similar amounts of energy.

There are approximately 2,000 patches lying around in Launchpad, but getting them upstream needs constant effort and follow up. If any of you are interested you might want to review Operation Cleansweep which has been lying dormant due to lack of manpower.
Shotwell plugin for Ubuntu One

Since Shotwell is a default app in Ubuntu, synchronizing a photo collection over Ubuntu One is a good idea.


Enhancements to the Software Center UI and Experience

This is a pretty big blueprint which contains interesting items such as:
  • Improving the speed of Software Center
  • Removing left navigation pane
  • Unity integration
  • Categorize for-purchase apps
  • Embedded font preview
Ubuntu One lens for Unity

An Ubuntu One lense for Unity for searching files stored in the cloud and searching Ubuntu One Music Store for tracks.
Ubuntu One: sharing files with people

This looks simple, but to me it is one of the biggest problems a developer faces – “Sharing.”

Google came out with Wave and Buzz but neither of them worked out well. On the other hand, Twitter and Facebook are leading in the sharing space. The attendees in this session have to do a lot of work for making sharing seamless and as painless as possible but for now Dropbox seems to be the best for cross-platform reliable sharing.

Ubuntu One plugins for file managers

Improve the Ubuntu One Nautilus integration and also with Windows Explorer for the Windows version of Ubuntu One.
Ubuntu One In-App Collaboration

Do anyone of you remember Jono’s post on Inkscape in-app collaboration? Here it is.
Ubuntu One: Synchronize files with local peers

When you have multiple systems on the same network, then syncing should be able to be done via the local network without bringing a server into the picture.
Unity 2D Oneiric Improvements

Unity 2D needs a lot more work. This session is to discuss the fine points like “remove gtk dependencies” etc.


As always, the Ubuntu Developer Summit has a lot of sessions – most of which I haven’t even covered here. It’s a hive of activity, and for the attendees, can be a very stressful week.

Thanks to the work of David Mandela, you can download Guidebook which is an excellent application for such summits. It is available for Android and iPhone and will help attendees know which sessions they’re meant to be at. Have a look at it at Jorge’s blog.

Look out for unparalleled coverage of the Ubuntu Developer Summit here on OMG! Ubuntu! and make sure you’re following us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.



[Video] How to change the size of the Unity launcher in Ubuntu 11.04

Changing the size of the icons in Ubuntu Natty’s new launcher is actually pretty easy, but rather than explain it through text, we thought we’d make this short video.

Once you’ve installed CompizConfig Settings Manager, you’ll need to find the Unity plugin and then you can easily change everything from the icon size, launcher reveal action, dash blur and more.

Check out our YouTube channel for more videos:


Adobe: “Creative Suite for Linux definitely on the radar”

Okay, I admit that it’s been a wee while since we last reported on the “Hey, Adobe! Bring Creative Suite to Linux” campaign that was a mainstay of this site late last year. Since then over 10,000 people have chimed in asking Adobe to ‘bring it’.

Since then, and oblivious to my eye Adobe employee Carey Burgess responded with the following awesome, albeit non-commital, statement:

“The request is now most definitely on the radar of our engineering teams, so it can be considered for future development.”

With that in mind Burgess asks that anyone wishing to see Creative Suite become available on Linux continue to add their voice for the Engineering team to track by clicking the ‘M e too!” button on the Get Satisfaction page.

    Future updates will be shared here on OMG! Ubuntu! as and when they are received them.


    Chrome’s tabs integrated into Ubuntu’s panel? Yes, please!

    OMG! Ubuntu! reader Cyrill sent us through a little mockup of what Ubuntu would look like with tabs inside the panel.

    He says “On my netbook’s 10 inch screen, every single pixel is important. And as there is barely no global menu for Chromium (this changed apparently in Natty), i was wondering how it would look if tabs were using that free space.”

    I have to agree with him – the tabs do look pretty nifty in the panel and vertical screen space on my Dell Mini 9 is a rare and precious commodity. I find myself endlessly punching “Fn + Alt + F11″ to switch back and forth between fullscreen browsing mode while surfing the net’ on the tiny 8.9″ screen.

    And apparently Cyrill isn’t the only one who has had this idea – over in the the Ubuntu Forums kenpuu asks if there is any way to put Chrom(ium)’s tabs in the panel, and on Reddit, edjca again asks “What if Chrome’s tabs integrated like the Unity bar?”

    Certainly this idea isn’t completely out of the realm of feasibility – Chromium developers have usually been pretty good at working on integration for their browser in Ubuntu.

    What do you guys think?


    Banshee 2.1: Small version increase, big change

    With the fantastic 2.0 release behind it, the Banshee project announces changes for the future.

    Dependencies, why do I care?

    In a mailing list posting today Banshee Core developer Gabriel Burt announced the much anticipated dependency decision for the upcoming Banshee 2.1. For every release so far the policy for Banshee has been to support distributions going back roughly 1½ years: this is all about to change.

    The reason naturally being the arrival of the GNOME3 stack and the .NET worlds new GTK#3 bindings which will hopefully soon see its first release. Rather than supporting the legacy (and known limited) GTK#2 bindings the decision to make a clean break, allowing the first major refresh of Banshee in years and simultaneously allowing Banshee to drop a lot of legacy code and workarounds.

    Besides moving all of Banshee to GTK#3[1][2], the targets to be dropped include the old and unsupported iPod integration (which was replaced with the standardized libgpod bindngs in the 1.7/1.8 cycle by Alan McGovern and friends) and the old style HAL hardware backend (which was replaced with udev likewise during the 1.7/1.8 cycle).

    What happens to older Linux releases, like my Lucid?

    While Banshee’s range of PPA resources are likely to continue merely providing the dependencies, a new bundle of joy has been added to the family. Older Linux users are now granted 32 and 64 bit generic bundles of Banshee which will run on any older Linux distribution, while integrating with your systems GStreamer media support framework and theming.

    All fantastic work done by silent yet deadly handsome (and camera shy) Luxembourgian Banshee Core maintainer Bertrand Lorentz. As something new these releases will for the first time be distributed from the GNOME servers rather than Banshee’s own domain.

    Moar GNOME, less C plz!

    Aside using the very latest GNOME technologies and cutting out legacy code with the ruthless efficiency known only to true code ninjas, Banshee is aiming to obsolete the remaining bits of C code.. what.. no C, why? The answer is simple, C code is an order of magnitude harder to work with, especially within a managed code project such as Banshee.

    Unmanaged code such as C code makes the portability wins from .NET much harder to attain as is evident in the Windows editions lack of e.g. Ubuntu One Music Store or Amazon MP3 integration. With Banshee 2.1 all this code is going to be replaced with new .NET bindings for the underlying libraries, the way mother intended code to be used, and will bring equal functionality and increased stability to all platforms.

    Google Summer of Code 2011?

    Banshee is also participating in Google’s annual bonanza of code and glory, this year we have gotten the pleasure of working with student Tobias Arrskog who will be working on uPnP server and client integration under Banshee luminary Alexander Kojevnikov.

    Tobias has already begun introducing himself to the community and getting used to the Banshee culture and you can all look forward to hearing more about his progress as GSoC progresses.


    Linux Video editor KdenLive updates with rotoscoping, stop motion, light graffiti effects and more

    Qt video editor Kdenlive saw a new release yesterday – one which stars a bona-fide A-list of new user-orientated features.

    We’ve taken a pick of the new and notable and listed them below…

    Light graffiti

    A feature new to version 0.8 is the excitingly named ‘Light Graffiti’. This feature allows you to record yourself ‘painting with light’. All you need is a dark-ish environment and a brightly-lit implement. Being one of those subjects that is much easier to ‘get’ when ‘seen’, here’s a video: -

    Stop motion tool

    Sure to be a hit with all amateur animators out there is Kdenlive’s new ‘Stop Motion’ utility.

    Whilst the feature is currently confined in support, limited to capture via Black Magic Intensity HDMI cards, it does offer an excellent set of features many dedicated stop-motion applications already available for Linux lack.

    It can display a live preview,  provides an easy ‘capture’ button to grab an image and is also able to overlay the last captured frame ‘on the monitor to easily see the difference with current live feed’.

    Other features

    Notable new additions elsewhere include rotoscoping masks and ‘image perspective placement’ – both with vital feathering options; a new audio monitoring tool for spectrum analysis; and saveable widget layouts to make working with Kdenlive a tuneable experience.
    Perspective image placement in Kdenlive 0.8
    Perspective image placement in Kdenlive 0.8. (source: Kdenlive.org)

    More features, along with news on bug fixes and other additions, can be read in the release notes for this release @ kdenlive.org/discover/0.8


    With so many great new features present in Kdenlive 0.8, the app certainly usurps the mantle as the most featured yet user-friendly video editor available for Linux.

    It’s also pretty awesome in the Ubuntu-support department too, being available for Ubuntu 9.10, Ubuntu 10.04, Ubuntu 10.10 and Ubuntu 11.04.

    To install in any of the above versions just add ‘ppa:sunab/kdenlive-release’ to your software sources, update and then install Kdenlive from the Ubuntu Software Centre.