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Launchpad News: Launchpad news, June 2017 – April 2018

Mar, 01/05/2018 - 8:19md

Once again it’s been a while since we posted a general update, so here’s a changelog-style summary of what we’ve been up to.  As usual, this changelog preserves a reasonable amount of technical detail, but I’ve omitted changes that were purely internal refactoring with no externally-visible effects.

Answers
  • Hide questions on inactive projects from the results of non-pillar-specific searches
Blueprints
  • Optimise the main query on Person:+upcomingwork (#1692120)
  • Apply the spec privacy check on Person:+upcomingwork only to relevant specs (#1696519)
  • Move base clauses for specification searches into a CTE to avoid slow sequential scans
Bugs
  • Switch to HTTPS for CVE references
  • Fix various failures to sync from Red Hat’s Bugzilla instance (#1678486)
Build farm
  • Send the necessary set of archive signing keys to builders (#1626739)
  • Hide the virt/nonvirt queue portlets on BuilderSet:+index if they’d be empty
  • Add a feature flag which can be used to prevent dispatching any build under a given minimum score
  • Write files fetched from builders to a temporary name, and only rename them into place on success
  • Emit the build URL at the start of build logs
Code
  • Fix crash when scanning a Git-based MP when we need to link a new RevisionAuthor to an existing Person (#1693543)
  • Add source ref name to breadcrumbs for Git-based MPs; this gets the ref name into the page title, which makes it easier to find Git-based MPs in browser history
  • Allow registry experts to delete recipes
  • Explicitly mark the local apt archive for recipe builds as trusted (#1701826)
  • Set +code as the default view on the code layer for (Person)DistributionSourcePackage
  • Improve handling of branches with various kinds of partial data
  • Add and export BranchMergeProposal.scheduleDiffUpdates (#483945)
  • Move “Updating repository…” notice above the list of branches so that it’s harder to miss (#1745161)
  • Upgrade to Pygments 2.2.0, including better formatting of *.md files (#1740903)
  • Sort cancelled-before-starting recipe builds to the end of the build history (#746140)
  • Clean up the {Branch,GitRef}:+register-merge UI slightly
  • Optimise merge detection when the branch has no landing candidates
Infrastructure
  • Use correct method separator in Allow headers (#1717682)
  • Optimise lp_sitecustomize so that bin/py starts up more quickly
  • Add a utility to make it easier to run Launchpad code inside lxc exec
  • Convert lp-source-dependencies to git
  • Remove the post-webservice-GET commit
  • Convert build system to virtualenv and pip, unblocking many upgrades of dependencies
  • Use eslint to lint JavaScript files
  • Tidy up various minor problems in the top-level Makefile (#483782)
  • Offering ECDSA or Ed25519 SSH keys to Launchpad SSH servers no longer causes a hang, although it still isn’t possible to use them for authentication (#830679)
  • Reject SSH public keys that Twisted can’t load (#230144)
  • Backport GPGME file descriptor handling improvements to fix timeouts importing GPG keys (#1753019)
  • Improve OOPSes for jobs
  • Switch the site-wide search to Bing Custom Search, since Google Site Search has been discontinued
  • Don’t send email to direct recipients without active accounts
Registry
  • Fix the privacy banner on PersonProduct pages
  • Show GPG fingerprints rather than collidable short key IDs (#1576142)
  • Fix PersonSet.getPrecachedPersonsFromIDs to handle teams with mailing lists
  • Optimise front page, mainly by gathering more statistics periodically rather than on the fly
  • Construct public keyserver links using HTTPS without an explicit port (#1739110)
  • Fall back to emailing the team owner if the team has no admins (#1270141)
Snappy
  • Log some useful information from authorising macaroons while uploading snaps to the store, to make it easier to diagnose problems
  • Extract more useful error messages when snap store operations fail (#1650461, #1687068)
  • Send mail rather than OOPSing if refreshing snap store upload macaroons fails (#1668368)
  • Automatically retry snap store upload attempts that return 502 or 503
  • Initialise git submodules in snap builds (#1694413)
  • Make SnapStoreUploadJob retries go via celery and be much more responsive (#1689282)
  • Run snap builds in LXD containers, allowing them to install snaps as build-dependencies
  • Allow setting Snap.git_path directly on the webservice
  • Batch snap listing views (#1722562)
  • Fix AJAX update of snap builds table to handle all build statuses
  • Set SNAPCRAFT_BUILD_INFO=1 to tell snapcraft to generate a manifest
  • Only emit snap:build:0.1 webhooks from SnapBuild.updateStatus if the status has changed
  • Expose extended error messages (with external link) for snap build jobs (#1729580)
  • Begin work on allowing snap builds to install snapcraft as a snap; this can currently be set up via the API, and work is in progress to add UI and to migrate to this as the default (#1737994)
  • Add an admin option to disable external network access for snap builds
  • Export ISnapSet.findByOwner on the webservice
  • Prefer Snap.store_name over Snap.name for the “name” argument dispatched to snap builds
  • Pass build URL to snapcraft using SNAPCRAFT_IMAGE_INFO
  • Add an option to build source tarballs for snaps (#1763639)
Soyuz (package management)
  • Stop SourcePackagePublishingHistory.getPublishedBinaries materialising rows outside the current batch; this fixes webservice timeouts for sources with large numbers of binaries (#1695113)
  • Implement proxying of PackageUpload binary files via the webapp, since DistroSeries:+queue now assumes that that works (#1697680)
  • Truncate signing key common-names to 64 characters (#1608615)
  • Allow setting a relative build score on live filesystems (#1452543)
  • Add signing support for vmlinux for use on ppc64el Opal (and compatible) firmware
  • Run live filesystem builds in LXD containers, allowing them to install snaps as build-dependencies
  • Accept a “debug” entry in live filesystem build metadata, which enables detailed live-build debugging
  • Accept and ignore options (e.g. [trusted=yes]) in sources.list lines passed via external_dependencies
  • Send proper email notifications about most failures to parse the .changes file (#499438)
  • Ensure that PPA .htpasswd salts are drawn from the correct alphabet (#1722209)
  • Improve DpkgArchitectureCache‘s timeline handling, and speed it up a bit in some cases (#1062638)
  • Support passing a snap channel into a live filesystem build through the environment
  • Add support for passing apt proxies to live-build
  • Allow anonymous launchpad.View on IDistributionSourcePackage
  • Handle queries starting with “ppa:” when searching the PPA vocabulary
  • Make PackageTranslationsUploadJob download librarian files to disk rather than memory
  • Send email notifications when an upload is signed with an expired key
  • Add Release, Release.gpg, and InRelease to by-hash directories
  • After publishing a custom file, mark its target suite as dirty so that it will be published (#1509026)
Translations
  • Fix text_to_html to not parse HTML as a C format string
  • Fall back to the package name from AC_INIT when expanding $(PACKAGE) in translation configuration files if no other definition can be found
Miscellaneous
  • Show a search icon for pickers where possible rather than “Choose…”

Jeremy Bicha: Congratulations Ubuntu and Fedora

Mar, 01/05/2018 - 5:32md

Congratulations to Ubuntu and Fedora on their latest releases.

This Fedora 28 release is special because it is believed to be the first release in their long history to release exactly when it was originally scheduled.

The Ubuntu 18.04 LTS release is the biggest release for the Ubuntu Desktop in 5 years as it returns to a lightly customized GNOME desktop. For reference, the biggest changes from vanilla GNOME are the custom Ambiance theme and the inclusion of the popular AppIndicator and Dock extensions (the Dock extension being a simplified version of the famous Dash to Dock). Maybe someday I could do a post about the smaller changes.

I think one of the more interesting occurrences for fans of Linux desktops is that these releases of two of the biggest LInux distributions occurred within days of each other. I expect this alignment to continue (although maybe not quite as dramatically as this time) since the Fedora and Ubuntu beta releases will happen at similar times and I expect Fedora won’t slip far from its intended release dates again.

Serge Hallyn: Tagged window manager views

Dje, 29/04/2018 - 6:54md

I find myself talking about these pretty frequently, and it seems many people have never actually heard about them, so a blog post seems appropriate.

Window managers traditionally present (for “advanced” users) “virtual” desktops and/or “multiple” desktops. Different window managers will have slightly different implementations and terminology, but typically I think of virtual desktops as being an MxN matrix of screen-sized desktops, and multiple desktops as being some number of disjoint MxN matrices. (In some cases there are only multiple 1×1 desktops) If you’re a MacOS user, I believe you’re limited to a linear array (say, 5 desktops), but even tvtwm back in the early 90s did matrices. In the late 90s Enlightenment offered a cool way of combining virtual and multiple desktops: As usual, you could go left/right/up/down to switch between virtual desktops, but in addition you had a bar across one edge of the screen which you could use to drag the current desktop so as to reveal the underlying desktop. Then you could do it again to see the next underlying one, etc. So you could peek and move windows between the multiple desktops.

Now, if you are using a tiling window manager like dwm, wmii, or awesome, you may think you have the same kinds of virtual desktops. But in fact what you have is a clever ‘tagged view’ implementation. This lets you pretend that you have virtual desktops, but tagged views are far more powerful.

In a tagged view, you define ‘tags’ (like desktop names), and assign one or more tags to each window. Your current screen is a view of one or more tags. In this way you can dynamically switch the set of windows displayed.

For instance, you could assign tag ‘1’ or ‘mail’ to your mail window; ‘2’ or ‘web’ to your browser; ‘3’ or ‘work’ as well as ‘1’ to one terminal, and ‘4’ or ‘notes’ to another terminal. Now if you view tag ‘1’, you will see the mail and first terminal; if you view 1+2, you will see those plus your browser. If you view 2+3, you will see the browser and first terminal but not the mail window.

As you can see, if you don’t know about this, you can continue to use tagged views as though they were simply multiple desktops. But you can’t get this flexibility with regular multiple or virtual desktops.

(This may be a case where a video would be worth more than a bunch of text.)

So in conclusion – when I complain about the primitive window manager on MacOS, I’m not just name-calling. A four-finger gesture to expose the 1xN virtual desktops just isn’t nearly as useful as being able to precisely control which windows I see together on the desktop.

Full Circle Magazine: issue 132

Pre, 27/04/2018 - 9:33md

This month:
* Command & Conquer
* How-To : Python, Freeplane, and Ubuntu Touch
* Graphics : Inkscape
* Everyday Linux
* Researching With Linux
* My Opinion
* My Story
* Book Review: Cracking Codes With Python
* Ubuntu Games: Dwarf Fortress
plus: News, Q&A, and much more.

HELP SUPPORT FULL CIRCLE MAGAZINE:

 

 

 

 

 

English
(EPUB)

Lubuntu Blog: Lubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) Released!

Pre, 27/04/2018 - 8:14pd
Thanks to all the hard work from our contributors, Lubuntu 18.04 LTS has been released! With the codename Bionic Beaver, Lubuntu 18.04 LTS is the 14th release of Lubuntu, with support until April of 2021. What is Lubuntu? Lubuntu is an official Ubuntu flavor which uses the Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment (LXDE). The project’s goal […]

Ubuntu Studio: Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Released

Pre, 27/04/2018 - 7:11pd
We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 18.04 Bionic Beaver! Unlike the other Ubuntu flavors, this release of Ubuntu Studio is not a Long-Term Suppport (LTS) release. As a regular release, it will be supported for 9 months. Although it is not a Long-Term Support release, it is still […]

Xubuntu: Xubuntu 18.04 released!

Pre, 27/04/2018 - 1:13pd

The Xubuntu team is happy to announce the immediate release of Xubuntu 18.04. Xubuntu 18.04 is a long-term support (LTS) release and will be supported for 3 years, until April 2021.

The final release images are available as torrents immediately from the links below.

64-bit systems32-bit systems

The images are also available as direct downloads from xubuntu.org/getxubuntu/. As the main server and mirrors might be busy for the first few days after the release, we recommend using the torrents if possible.

We’d like to thank everybody who contributed to this release of Xubuntu!

Support

For support with the release, navigate to Help & Support for a complete list of methods to get help.

Highlights and Known Issues

The below is just a quick peek at the most important highlights and issues. More updates and new features are listed on the very thorough release notes.

Highlights
  • Some GNOME applications are replaced with corresponding MATE applications for improved consistency with almost identical set of features
  • The Sound Indicator plugin is replaced with the Xfce PulseAudio plugin in the panel, improving controlling the volume and multimedia applications from the panel
  • The new xfce4-notifyd panel plugin is included, allowing you to easily toggle “Do Not Disturb” mode for notifications as well as view missed notifications
  • Significantly improved menu editing with a new MenuLibre version
  • Better support for HiDPI screens, better consistency and other improvements from the Greybird GTK+ theme
Known Issues
  • The “Force UEFI installation” dialog has non-working Go Back/Continue buttons (1724482).
  • The automatically selected keyboard layout does not necessarily match the chosen region (1706859).

As always, check Launchpad for bugs related to your hardware to make sure there aren’t any critical bugs that could potentially make your system unbootable or otherwise unusable.

Corey Bryant: OpenStack Queens for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

Pre, 27/04/2018 - 12:54pd

Hi All,

It’s release day!

With today’s release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (the Bionic Beaver) the Ubuntu OpenStack team at Canonical is pleased to announce the general availability of OpenStack Queens on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. This release of Ubuntu is a Long Term Support release that will be supported for 5 years.

Further details for the Ubuntu 18.04 release can be found at: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/BionicBeaver/ReleaseNotes.

And further details for the OpenStack Queens release can be found at:  https://www.openstack.org/software/queens

Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

No extra steps are required required; just start installing OpenStack!

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

If you’re interested in OpenStack Queens on Ubuntu 16.04, please refer to this post which coincided with the upstream OpenStack Queens release.

Packages

The 18.04 archive includes updates for:

aodh, barbican, ceilometer, ceph (12.2.4), cinder, congress, designate, designate-dashboard, dpdk (17.11), glance, glusterfs (3.13.2), gnocchi, heat, heat-dashboard, horizon, ironic, keystone, libvirt (4.0.0), magnum, manila, manila-ui, mistral, murano, murano-dashboard, networking-bagpipe, networking-bgpvpn, networking-hyperv, networking-l2gw, networking-odl, networking-ovn, networking-sfc, neutron, neutron-dynamic-routing, neutron-fwaas, neutron-lbaas, neutron-lbaas-dashboard, neutron-taas, neutron-vpnaas, nova, nova-lxd, openstack-trove, openvswitch (2.9.0), panko, qemu (2.11), rabbitmq-server (3.6.10), sahara, sahara-dashboard, senlin, swift, trove-dashboard, vmware-nsx, watcher, and zaqar.

For a full list of packages and versions, please refer to [0].

Branch Package Builds

If you want to try out the latest updates to stable branches, we are delivering continuously integrated packages on each upstream commit in the following PPA’s:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openstack-ubuntu-testing/mitaka
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openstack-ubuntu-testing/ocata
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openstack-ubuntu-testing/pike
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:openstack-ubuntu-testing/queens

bear in mind these are built per-commitish (30 min checks for new commits at the moment) so ymmv from time-to-time.

Reporting bugs

If you run into any issues please report bugs using the ‘ubuntu-bug’ tool:

sudo ubuntu-bug nova-conductor

this will ensure that bugs get logged in the right place in Launchpad.

Thank you to all who contributed to OpenStack Queens and Ubuntu Bionic both upstream and in Debian/Ubuntu packaging!

Regards,
Corey
(on behalf of the Ubuntu OpenStack team)

[0] http://reqorts.qa.ubuntu.com/reports/ubuntu-server/cloud-archive/queens_versions.html

Ubuntu MATE: Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS Final Release

Pre, 27/04/2018 - 12:00pd

Charles Babbage wasn't lying when he said "The only thing that would make my Difference Engine any better would be a modern customisable desktop environment that didn't deviate from traditional desktop paradigms (unless I wanted it to.)" In a long lost diary entry Ada Lovelace scribbled "If only my code could be matched to an OS that had a perfect blend of usability and style accompanied by a handpicked selection of quality software packages." ENIAC, moments before being unplugged in 1956, spat out a final message: "Give us a reboot when Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS is out will ya?"

Dust off 20,000 vacuum tubes and check those 5,000,000 hand soldered joints because Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS is here and it's time to power it up.

MATE Desktop 1.20.1 inclusion alone is enough to make Babbage weep with joy but there is still more. Caja is primed to encrypt your secrets with GnuPG, and with bulk renaming built right in to the file manager you can finally deal with those pesky family reunion photos.

Got a fancy new display and itty bitty pixels? HiDPI support bounds into this LTS, it's so dynamic you won't know what to do with yourself. We have tweaked desktop layouts, improved global menus, refined our Head-Up Display (HUD) and updated Brisk Menu. It's dandy!

We could scream it all here in this blurb, instead we suggest you take a scroll through the notes below and behold the majesty that is Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS.

We will scream "Thank You!" however. A "Thank You!" to everyone who contributed code, documentation, artwork, bug reports, translations or artwork. A "Thank You!" to the members of our community forum who offer advice and support to those who request it. A "Thank You!" to everyone who has supported the Ubuntu MATE crowd funding that helps reward and incentivise developers who work on MATE Desktop, Ubuntu MATE and associated technologies in their spare time. You are the 20,000 vacuum tubes and the 5,000,000 hand soldered joints that make up Ubuntu MATE. We couldn't be prouder.


No one reads the release notes, isn't that right DasGeek? So when our friend Stuart Langridge was reviewing our draft release notes and commented that they didn't speak to him, we thought "all right, we can fix that". Stuart, since you are such a special snowflake and no one else will read these notes, here they are, bespoke release notes just for you!

What changed since the Ubuntu MATE 16.04 LTS release?

Just about everything! Ubuntu MATE 18.04 is rammed to the rafters with new features and improvements compared to 16.04.

MATE Desktop 1.20.1

The MATE Desktop has transitioned from the GTK 2.24 based MATE 1.12 to the very latest MATE 1.20.1 based on GTK 3.22. This migration has been several years in the making, and most of 2016 and 2017 was spent refining the GTK3 implementation. The move to GTK3 has made it possible to introduce many of the new features you'll read about below.

Support for libinput has been added and is now the default input handler for mouse and touchpad, which has resulted in much improved responsiveness and support for multi-finger touch gestures.

Thanks to our friends at Hypra.fr accessibility support (particularly for visually impaired users) has seen continued development and improvement. MATE Desktop is proud to provide visually impaired users the most accessible open source desktop environment.

HiDPI

High DPI displays have a high resolution relative to their physical size that results in an increased pixel density compared to standard DPI displays. They are mostly found in high-end laptops and monitors. Our friends at elementary OS wrote a great blog post explaining What is HIDPI and why does it matter.

MATE Desktop 1.20 supports HiDPI displays and if you have one then Ubuntu MATE will automatically enable pixel scaling, presenting you with a super crisp desktop and applications. HiDPI hints for Qt applications are also pushed to the environment to improve cross toolkit integration. Every aspect of the Ubuntu MATE, its themes, its applications, its icons, its toolkit assets have been updated to take advantage of HiDPI.

Should you have a HiDPI display and want to disable HiDPI scaling you can do so via MATE Tweak (for the desktop) and Login Window (for the greeter), both are available in the Control Centre.

The File Manager (Caja)

We've added some new features to the file manager (Caja).

  • Added Advanced bulk rename - A batch renaming extension.
  • Added Encryption - An extension which allows encryption and decryption of files using GnuPG.
  • Added Hash checking - An extension for computing and validating message digests or checksums.
  • Added Advanced ACL properties - An extension to edit access control lists (ACLs) and extended attributes (xattr).
  • Updated Folder Color - An extension for applying custom colours and emblems to folders and files.
  • Replaced the deprecated caja-gksu with caja-admin which uses PolicyKit to elevate permissions in the file manager for administrative tasks.

gksu is deprecated and being removed from Debian. We are aligning with that objective by replacing all use of gksu with PolicyKit.


Window Manager (Marco)

If your hardware/drivers support DRI3 then the window manager (Marco) compositing is now hardware accelerated. This dramatically improves 3D rendering performance, particularly in games. If your hardware doesn't support DRI3 then Marco will fall back to a software compositor.

Marco now supports drag to quadrant window tiling, cursor keys can be used to navigate the Alt+Tabswitcher and keyboard shortcuts to move windows to another monitor were added.

Desktop layouts

Using MATE Tweak you can try out the various desktop layouts to find one that suits you, and either stick with it or use it as a basis to create your own custom desktop layout.

A new layout has been added to the collection for the Ubuntu 18.04 release Ubuntu MATE 18.04. It is called Familiar and is based on the Traditional layout with the menu-bar (Applications, Places, System) replaced by Brisk Menu. Familiar is now the the default layout. Traditional will continue to be shipped, unchanged, and will be available via MATE Tweak for those who prefer it.

Here are some screenshots of the desktop layouts included in Ubuntu MATE to give you a feel for how you can configure your desktop experience.



  • Familiar - the default experience, a familiar two panel layout with a searchable menu
  • Mutiny - application dock, searchable launcher and global menus similar to Unity 7
  • Cupertino - a dock and top panel with searchable launcher and global menus similar to macOS
  • Redmond - single bottom panel with a searchable menu, similar to the taskbar in Windows
  • Pantheon - a dock and top panel with a searchable menu
  • Contemporary - modernised two panel layout featuring a searchable menu with global menus
  • Netbook - a compact, single top panel layout, ideal for small screens
  • Traditional Traditional - two panel layout featuring the iconic 'Applications, Places, System' menu

In order to create or improve the desktop layouts described above we've spent the last two years working on a number of projects across the MATE ecosystem that have enabled us to offer 8 different desktop layouts, each providing a different desktop experience. Here's some of the projects we worked on to make it all possible.

Super key

Super key (also known as the Windows key) support is available in the majority of the desktop layouts. This means Super can be used to activate the menus/launchers, and other key-bindings that include the Super key also continue to function correctly.

MATE Dock Applet, used in the Mutiny layout, also includes launching or switching to docked items based on their position using in the dock using Super + 1, Super + 2 which will be familiar to Unity 7 users. Super + L is also recognised as a screen lock key-binding along with the usual Ctrl + Alt + L that MATE Desktop users expect.

Global Menu

The Global Menu implementation has switched from TopMenu to Vala Panel Appmenu which is compatible with GTK, Qt, LibreOffice, Firefox/Thunderbird, Google Chrome, Electron and others.

Global Menus are integrated in the Mutiny and Cupertino desktop layouts but can be added to any panel, for those who just prefer to use global menus or those who want to maximise screen space available to their applications.


Indicators

Ubuntu MATE 18.04 now uses Indicators by default in all layouts. If you've used Ubuntu, these will be familiar. Indicators offer better accessibility support and ease of use over notification area applets. The volume in Indicator Sound can now be overdriven, so it is consistent with the MATE sound preferences. Notification area applets are still supported as a fallback.

We've been improving Indicator support from release to release for some time now. In Ubuntu MATE 17.10 many of the panel layouts offered a complete line up of Indicators, all of which are fully compatible with MATE. The default Indicators are:

  • Optimus (only available if you have nvidia prime capable hardware and drivers)
  • Bluetooth
  • Network
  • Power
  • Messages
  • Sound
  • Session
MATE Dock Applet

MATE Dock Applet is used in the Mutiny and Netbook layouts, but anyone can add it to a panel to create custom panel arrangements. MATE Dock Applet has seen many improvements over the last 2 years, here are some of the highlights:

Icon scrolling

Icon scrolling is automatically enabled when the dock applet runs out of space on the panel to expand into. Move the mouse over either the first or last icon in the dock, if scrolling is possible in that direction the icon will darken and an arrow will be displayed over it. If you hover the mouse pointer over an icon in this state, the dock will scroll in the indicated direction. Icon scrolling is automatically configured and enabled when using the Mutiny desktop layout, when using any other layout scrolling can be enabled via the MATE Dock Applet preferences.

Icon matching

MATE Dock Applet no longer uses its own method of matching icons to applications and instead uses BAMF. This mean the applet is lot better at matching applications and windows to their dock icons.

Assorted improvements
  • Window lists and action lists now have rounded corners and point to their icon in the dock.
  • The delay before action lists appear when the mouse hovers over a dock icon can now be set in the preferences dialog.
  • Apps can now be pinned to specific workspaces, in other words their app icons only appear in the dock when a particular workspace is active. This allows users to customise the dock for each workspace they use.
  • When unpinning an application a notification is now displayed which allows the operation to be undone.
  • The appearance of progress bars on dock icons has been improved.
  • Popup windows (action lists and window lists) no longer steal focus from other windows.
Brisk Menu

Brisk Menu is an efficient, searchable, menu for the MATE Desktop. We've collaborated with the Solus Project, the maintainers of Brisk Menu. A number of features have been added so that, like Ubuntu MATE itself, Brisk Menu is chameleonic. You'll find Brisk Menu is used in several of the Ubuntu MATE desktop layouts and is presented slightly differently in each.

The Mutiny and Cupertino desktop layouts make use of a new dash-style launcher, which enables a fullscreen searchable application launcher while the other layouts present Brisk Menu as a more traditional menu.


MATE Window Applets

MATE Window Applets make it possible to add window controls (mazimise, minimise and close) to a panel. We used Window Applets to enhance the Mutiny and Netbook layouts so that both will now remove window controls from maximised windows and relocate the window controls in the panel.


Head-Up Display

A favourite of Unity 7 users is the Head-Up Display (HUD) which provides a way to search for and run menu-bar commands without your fingers ever leaving the keyboard. The HUD can be enabled via MATE Tweak. You activate the HUD by tapping Alt, you then enter a search query to find menu items, highlight the one you want and press enter to trigger it.

If you're trying to find that single filter in Gimp but can't remember which filter category it fits into or if you can't recall if preferences sits under File, Edit or Tools in your favourite browser, you can just search for it rather than hunting through the menus.

The purpose of the HUD is to keep your fingers on the keyboard and improve the efficiency in driving the menus for keyboard centric users. We've locally integrated the HUD for similar reasons; if you're looking at an application, why move the HUD to the top of screen away from where your eyes are already focused? Keeping the HUD within the context of the active application eliminates refocusing your attention to a different part of the screen, particularly helpful for users with high resolution or multi-display workstations.


The HUD now has a 250ms (default) timeout, holding Alt any longer won't trigger the HUD. This is consistent with how the HUD in Unity 7 works. The HUD is also HiDPI aware now.

MATE Tweak

MATE Tweak can now toggle HiDPI mode between auto detection, regular scaling and forced scaling. HiDPI mode changes are dynamically applied and we've added a button to launch the Font preferences so users with HiDPI displays can fine tune their font DPI.

MATE Tweak has a deep understanding of Brisk Menu and Global Menu capabilities and manages them transparently while switching layouts. Switching layouts is far more reliable now too. We've removed the Interface section from MATE Tweak. Sadly, all the features the Interface section tweaked have been dropped from GTK3, making the whole section redundant. When saving a panel layout the Dock status will be saved too.


Ubuntu MATE Welcome

Welcome and Boutique have been given some love. The software listings in the Boutique have been refreshed, with some applications being removed, many updated and some new additions Welcome now has snappier animations and transitions. Applications selected for installation or removal via the Software Boutique are now added to a queue so you can select several installs and removals and process them all at once.

Browser Selection

A new Browser Selection screen has been added so you can quickly install your preferred browser.


System telemetry

Ubuntu MATE Welcome can submit anonymised system information, generated during an install or upgrade, that will help the developers better understand what devices Ubuntu MATE is being used on. This data will be transmitted one time only and includes basic system components but nothing that is uniquely identifiable. Here is an example telemetry report from the workstation of the Ubuntu MATE lead developer. We kindly request that if you install Ubuntu MATE you participate in sending us a telemetry report.


General improvements Minimal Installation

The Minimal Install is a new option presented in the installer that will install just the MATE Desktop, its utilities, its themes and Firefox. All the other applications such as office suite, email client, video player, audio manager, etc. are not installed. If you're interested, here is the complete list of software that is removed from a full Ubuntu MATE 18.04 installation to make the minimal install.


So, who's this aimed at? There are users who like to uninstall the software they do not need or want to build out their own desktop experience. So for those users, a minimal install is a great platform to build on. For those of you interested in creating "kiosk" style devices, such as homebrew Steam machines or Kodi boxes, then a minimal install is another useful starting point.

Documentation

The Ubuntu MATE Guide is a comprehensive introduction to MATE Desktop and Ubuntu MATE including how to use everything we ship by default, along with detailed instruction on how to tailor, tweak and customise Ubuntu MATE to suit your preferences.


Buy the books

Print and ebook versions of the books Ubuntu MATE: Upgrading from Windows or OSX and Using Ubuntu MATE and Its Applications are available from our shop.

Shop Slick Greeter

Ubuntu MATE switched to Slick Greeter during the 17.10 development cycle, which still uses LightDM under the hood but is far more attractive and HiDPI aware.


Slick Greeter Settings

We worked with our friends at Lubuntu and Ubuntu Budgie to land a configuration utility for Slick Greeter just moments before the final freeze window closed for 18.04.


Artwork Themes

The Ubuntu MATE themes have been uplifted from GTK2 to GTK3 including the addition of a new dark variant of the Ambiant-MATE theme. We've worked tirelessly on all the Ubuntu MATE themes making them fully compatible with GTK 3.22 and ensuring every pixel is placed exactly where it should be. Michael Tunnel from TuxDigital retouched countless art assets for the Ubuntu MATE themes including scaled variants for use on HiDPI displays. The Ubuntu MATE icon theme was given a facelift thanks to our friends at elementary OS and the default mouse pointer cursors use the new upstream MATE theme which is also HiDPI aware. Finally, blink and you'll miss it, the Ubuntu MATE Plymouth theme (boot logo) is now HiDPI aware.

Backgrounds

We are no longer shipping mate-backgrounds by default. They have served us well, but are looking a little stale now. We have created a new selection of high quality wallpapers comprised of some abstract designs and high resolution photos from unsplash.com.

Emoji

We've switched to Noto Sans for users of Japanese, Chinese and Korean fonts and glyphs. MATE Desktop 1.20 supports emoji input, so we've added a colour emoji font too.

You can enter emoji in one of two ways, type Ctrl + Shift + e an e prompt will appear and you can type usual emoji, such as :-), and it will automatically change to a glyph. Alternatively you can right click in the input area and select Insert Emoji that will display the emoji picker below.


Major Applications

Accompanying MATE Desktop 1.20.1 and Linux 4.15 are Firefox 59.0.2, VLC 3.0.1, LibreOffice 6.0.3.2 and Thunderbird 52.7.0.


See the Ubuntu 18.04 Release Notes for details of all the changes and improvements that Ubuntu MATE benefits from.

Download Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS

We've even redesigned the download page so it's even easier to get started.

Download Upgrading from Ubuntu MATE 16.04 or 17.10
  • Open the "Software & Updates" from the Control Center.
  • Select the 3rd Tab called "Updates".
  • Set the "Notify me of a new Ubuntu version" dropdown menu to "Long-term support versions".
  • Press Alt+F2 and type in update-manager into the command box.
  • Update Manager should open up and tell you: New distribution release '18.04' is available.
    • If not you can also use /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release-gtk
  • Click "Upgrade" and follow the on-screen instructions.
Get the Ubuntu MATE snaps

When the upgrade is complete and you're logged in, open a terminal and execute:

snap install ubuntu-mate-welcome --classic snap install software-boutique --classic snap install pulsemixer

The snap packages above are installed when performing a clean install of Ubuntu MATE 18.04, but are not automatically installed when upgrading from an earlier release.

Raspberry Pi images

We're planning on releasing Ubuntu MATE images for the Raspberry Pi around the time 18.04.1 is released, which should be sometime in July. It takes about a month to get the Raspberry Pi images built and tested and we simply didn't have time to do it in time for the April release of 18.04.

Known Issues

Here are the known issues.

Ubuntu MATE
  • Anyone upgrading from Ubuntu MATE 16.04 or 17.10 may need to use MATE Tweak to reset the panel layout to one of the bundled layouts post upgrade.
    • Migrating panel layouts, particularly those without Indicator support, is hit and miss. Mostly miss.
  • Choosing Install Ubuntu MATE from the boot menu on HiDPI displays will not display Indicators in the installer. However, installs will still complete successfully.
    • This issue only affects HiDPI display users and the workaround is to Try Ubuntu MATE without installing and run the installer from the live desktop session.
Ubuntu family issues

This is our known list of bugs that affects all flavours.

You'll also want to check the Ubuntu MATE bug tracker to see what has already been reported. These issues will be addressed in due course.

Feedback

Is there anything you can help with or want to be involved in? Maybe you just want to discuss your experiences or ask the maintainers some questions. Please come and talk to us.

Kees Cook: UEFI booting and RAID1

Pre, 20/04/2018 - 2:34pd

I spent some time yesterday building out a UEFI server that didn’t have on-board hardware RAID for its system drives. In these situations, I always use Linux’s md RAID1 for the root filesystem (and/or /boot). This worked well for BIOS booting since BIOS just transfers control blindly to the MBR of whatever disk it sees (modulo finding a “bootable partition” flag, etc, etc). This means that BIOS doesn’t really care what’s on the drive, it’ll hand over control to the GRUB code in the MBR.

With UEFI, the boot firmware is actually examining the GPT partition table, looking for the partition marked with the “EFI System Partition” (ESP) UUID. Then it looks for a FAT32 filesystem there, and does more things like looking at NVRAM boot entries, or just running BOOT/EFI/BOOTX64.EFI from the FAT32. Under Linux, this .EFI code is either GRUB itself, or Shim which loads GRUB.

So, if I want RAID1 for my root filesystem, that’s fine (GRUB will read md, LVM, etc), but how do I handle /boot/efi (the UEFI ESP)? In everything I found answering this question, the answer was “oh, just manually make an ESP on each drive in your RAID and copy the files around, add a separate NVRAM entry (with efibootmgr) for each drive, and you’re fine!” I did not like this one bit since it meant things could get out of sync between the copies, etc.

The current implementation of Linux’s md RAID puts metadata at the front of a partition. This solves more problems than it creates, but it means the RAID isn’t “invisible” to something that doesn’t know about the metadata. In fact, mdadm warns about this pretty loudly:

# mdadm --create /dev/md0 --level 1 --raid-disks 2 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 mdadm: Note: this array has metadata at the start and may not be suitable as a boot device. If you plan to store '/boot' on this device please ensure that your boot-loader understands md/v1.x metadata, or use --metadata=0.90

Reading from the mdadm man page:

-e, --metadata= ... 1, 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 default Use the new version-1 format superblock. This has fewer restrictions. It can easily be moved between hosts with different endian-ness, and a recovery operation can be checkpointed and restarted. The different sub-versions store the superblock at different locations on the device, either at the end (for 1.0), at the start (for 1.1) or 4K from the start (for 1.2). "1" is equivalent to "1.2" (the commonly preferred 1.x format). "default" is equivalent to "1.2".

First we toss a FAT32 on the RAID (mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/md0), and looking at the results, the first 4K is entirely zeros, and file doesn’t see a filesystem:

# dd if=/dev/sda1 bs=1K count=5 status=none | hexdump -C 00000000 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |................| * 00001000 fc 4e 2b a9 01 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 |.N+.............| ... # file -s /dev/sda1 /dev/sda1: Linux Software RAID version 1.2 ...

So, instead, we’ll use --metadata 1.0 to put the RAID metadata at the end:

# mdadm --create /dev/md0 --level 1 --raid-disks 2 --metadata 1.0 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 ... # mkfs.fat -F32 /dev/md0 # dd if=/dev/sda1 bs=1 skip=80 count=16 status=none | xxd 00000000: 2020 4641 5433 3220 2020 0e1f be77 7cac FAT32 ...w|. # file -s /dev/sda1 /dev/sda1: ... FAT (32 bit)

Now we have a visible FAT32 filesystem on the ESP. UEFI should be able to boot whatever disk hasn’t failed, and grub-install will write to the RAID mounted at /boot/efi.

However, we’re left with a new problem: on (at least) Debian and Ubuntu, grub-install attempts to run efibootmgr to record which disk UEFI should boot from. This fails, though, since it expects a single disk, not a RAID set. In fact, it returns nothing, and tries to run efibootmgr with an empty -d argument:

Installing for x86_64-efi platform. efibootmgr: option requires an argument -- 'd' ... grub-install: error: efibootmgr failed to register the boot entry: Operation not permitted. Failed: grub-install --target=x86_64-efi WARNING: Bootloader is not properly installed, system may not be bootable

Luckily my UEFI boots without NVRAM entries, and I can disable the NVRAM writing via the “Update NVRAM variables to automatically boot into Debian?” debconf prompt when running: dpkg-reconfigure -p low grub-efi-amd64

So, now my system will boot with both or either drive present, and updates from Linux to /boot/efi are visible on all RAID members at boot-time. HOWEVER there is one nasty risk with this setup: if UEFI writes anything to one of the drives (which this firmware did when it wrote out a “boot variable cache” file), it may lead to corrupted results once Linux mounts the RAID (since the member drives won’t have identical block-level copies of the FAT32 any more).

To deal with this “external write” situation, I see some solutions:

  • Make the partition read-only when not under Linux. (I don’t think this is a thing.)
  • Create higher-level knowledge of the root-filesystem RAID configuration is needed to keep a collection of filesystems manually synchronized instead of doing block-level RAID. (Seems like a lot of work and would need redesign of /boot/efi into something like /boot/efi/booted, /boot/efi/spare1, /boot/efi/spare2, etc)
  • Prefer one RAID member’s copy of /boot/efi and rebuild the RAID at every boot. If there were no external writes, there’s no issue. (Though what’s really the right way to pick the copy to prefer?)

Since mdadm has the “--update=resync” assembly option, I can actually do the latter option. This required updating /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf to add <ignore> on the RAID’s ARRAY line to keep it from auto-starting:

ARRAY <ignore> metadata=1.0 UUID=123...

(Since it’s ignored, I’ve chosen /dev/md100 for the manual assembly below.) Then I added the noauto option to the /boot/efi entry in /etc/fstab:

/dev/md100 /boot/efi vfat noauto,defaults 0 0

And finally I added a systemd oneshot service that assembles the RAID with resync and mounts it:

[Unit] Description=Resync /boot/efi RAID DefaultDependencies=no After=local-fs.target [Service] Type=oneshot ExecStart=/sbin/mdadm -A /dev/md100 --uuid=123... --update=resync ExecStart=/bin/mount /boot/efi RemainAfterExit=yes [Install] WantedBy=sysinit.target

(And don’t forget to run “update-initramfs -u” so the initramfs has an updated copy of /dev/mdadm/mdadm.conf.)

If mdadm.conf supported an “update=” option for ARRAY lines, this would have been trivial. Looking at the source, though, that kind of change doesn’t look easy. I can dream!

And if I wanted to keep a “pristine” version of /boot/efi that UEFI couldn’t update I could rearrange things more dramatically to keep the primary RAID member as a loopback device on a file in the root filesystem (e.g. /boot/efi.img). This would make all external changes in the real ESPs disappear after resync. Something like:

# truncate --size 512M /boot/efi.img # losetup -f --show /boot/efi.img /dev/loop0 # mdadm --create /dev/md100 --level 1 --raid-disks 3 --metadata 1.0 /dev/loop0 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1

And at boot just rebuild it from /dev/loop0, though I’m not sure how to “prefer” that partition…

© 2018, Kees Cook. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Rhonda D&#39;Vine: Diversity Update

Enj, 19/04/2018 - 9:53md

I have to excuse for being silent for that long. Way too many things happened. In fact I already wrote most of this last fall, but then something happened that did impact me too much to finalize this entry. And with that I want to go a bit into details how I write my blog entries:
I start to write them in English, I like to cross-reference things, and after I'm done I go over it and write it again in German. That process helps me proof-reading the English part, but it also means that it takes a fair amount of time. And the longer the entries get the more energy the translation and proof reading part takes, too. That's mostly also the reason why I tend to write longer entries when I find the energy and time for it.

Anyway, the first thing that I want to mention here finally happened last June: I officially got changed my name and gender/sex marker in my papers! That was a very happy moment in so many ways. A week later I got my new passport, finally managed to book my flight to Debconf in my name. Yay me, I exist!

Then, Stretch was released. I have to admit I had very little to do, wasn't involved in the release process, neither from the website team nor anywhere else because ...

... because I was packing my stuff that weekend, because on June 21st, a second thing finally happened: I got the keys to my flat in the Que[e]rbau!! Yes, I'm aware that we still need to work on the website. The building company actually did make a big event out of it, called every single person onto stage and handed over the keys. And it made me happy to be able to receive my key in my name and not one I don't relate to since a long while anymore. It did hurt seeing that happening to someone else from our house, even though they knew what the Que[e]rbau is about ... And: I moved right in the same day. Gave up my old flat the following week, even though I didn't have much furniture nor a kitchen but I was waiting way too long to be able to not be there. And just watch that sunset from my balcony. <3

And I mentioned it in the last blog post already, the European Lesbian* Conference organization needed more and more work, too. The program for it started to finalize, but there were still more than enough things to do. I totally fell into this, this was the first time I really felt what intersectionality means and that it's not just a label but an internal part of this conference. The energy going on in the team on that grounds is really outstanding, and I'm totally happy to be part of this effort.

And then came along Debconf17 in Montreal. It was nice to be with a fair amount of people that grew on me like a family over the years. And interestingly I got the notice that there was a Trans March going on, so I joined that. It was a pleasure meeting Sophie LaBelle and Chase Ross there. I wasn't aware that Chase was from Montreal, so that part was a surprise. Sophie I knew, and I brought her back to Vienna in November, right before the Transgender Day of Remembrance. :)

But one of the two moving speeches at the march were from Charlie Rose titled My Gender Is Black. I managed to get a recording of this and another great speech from another Black Lives Matters activist, and hope I'll be able to put them online at some point. For the time being the link to the text should be able to help.

And then Debconf itself started. And I held the Debian Diversity Round Table. While the title might had been misleading, because this group isn't officially formed yet, it turned out to get a fair amount of interest. I started off with why I called for it, that I intentionally chose to not have it video taped for people to be able to speak more freely and after a short introduction round with names, pronouns and other things people wanted to share we had some interesting discussions on why people think this is a good idea, what direction to move. A few ideas did spring up, and then ... time ran out. So actually we scheduled a continuation BoF to further enhance the topic. At the end of that we came up with a pretty good consensual view on how to move forward. Unfortunately I didn't manage yet to follow up on that and feel quite bad about it. :/

Because, after returning, getting back into work, and needing a bit more time for EL*C I started to feel serious pain in my back and my leg which seems to be a slipped disc and was on sick leave for about two months. The pain was too much, I even had to stay at the hospital for two weeks because my stomach acted up too.

At the end of October we had a grand opening: We have a community space in our Que[e]rbau in which we built sort of a bar, with cooking facility and hi-fi equipment. And we intentionally opened it up to the public. It's name is Yella Yella! Nachbar_innentreff. We named it after Yella Hertzka who was an important feminist at the start of the 20th century. The park on the other side of the street is called Yella Hertzka park, so the pun in the name with the connection to the arabic proverb Yalla Yalla is intentional.

With the Yella Yella a fair amount of internal discussions emerged, we all only started to live together, so naturally this took a fair amount of energy and discussions. Things take time to get a feeling for all the people. There were several interviews made, and events to get organized to get it running.

And then out of the sudden it turned 2018 and I still haven't published this post. I'm sorry 'bout that, but sometimes there are other things needing time. And here I am. Time move on even if we don't look at it.

A recent project that I had the honor to be part of is my movement is limitless [trans_non-binary short]. It was interesting to think about the topic whether gender identity affects the way you dance. And to seen and hear other people's approach to it.

At the upcoming Linuxtage Graz there will be a session about Common misconceptions about names and spaces and communities because they were enforcing a realname policy – at a community event. Not only is this a huge issue for trans people but also works against privacy researchers or people from the community that noone really knows by the name in their papers. The discussions that happened on twitter or in the background were partly a fair bit disturbing. Let's hope that we'll manage to make a good panel.

Which brings us to a panel for the upcoming Debconf in Taiwan. There is a suggestion to have a Gender Forum at the Openday. I'm still not completely sure what it should cover or what is expected for it and I guess it's still open for suggestions. There will be a plan, let's see to make it diverse and great!

I won't promise to send the next update sooner, but I'll try to get back into it. Right now I'm also working on a (German language) submission for a non-binary YouTube project and it would be great to see that thing lift off. I'll be more verbose on that front.

Thanks for reading so far, and read you soon. :)

/personal | permanent link | Comments: 0 |

Didier Roche: Welcome To The (Ubuntu) Bionic Age: Behind communitheme: interviewing Frederik

Enj, 19/04/2018 - 6:10md
Interviewing people behind communitheme. Today: Frederik

As discussed last week when unveiling the communitheme snap for ubuntu 18.04 LTS, here is a suite of interview this week on some members of the core contributor team shaping this entirely community-driven theme.

Today is the turn of Frederik, frederik-f on the community hub.

Who are you? What are you doing/where are you working? Give us some words and background about you!

My name is Frederik, I live in Germany and I am working as a java software developer in my daily job.

I am using Ubuntu since 5 years and quickly started to report bugs and issues when they jumped into my face. Apart from that, I like good music, and beautiful software. I also make my own music in my free time.

What are you mainly contributor areas on communitheme?

I mainly contribute to the shell theme but also work on implementing some design ideas in the gtk theme.

How did you hear about new theming effort on ubuntu, what made you willing to participate actively to it?

I followed the design process from the beginning on the community website and was very interested in it. Not only because I love ubuntu but also because I finished my thesis last year, where I needed to read some design books about UX and interaction design. I loved how they created the mockups and discussed about them in a very professional, mature, friendly and yet unemotional way - accepting and rejecting different opinions.

How is the interaction with the larger community, how do you deal with different ideas and opinions on the community hub, issues opened against the projects, PR?

I feel there could be even more interaction and I hope there will be more promotion about this website so more people would share their opinions.

What did you think (honestly) about the decision for not shipping it by default on 18.04, but curating it for a little while?

While ambiance uses very antiquated design ideas, it still represents the ubuntu brand. Of course I was a little disappointed, but that was also the point where I decided to contribute actual code and make PRs. I felt like they need more help.

I think if the snap will be promoted in the software center like for example spotify or skype, many LTS users could try it and then in the end, we got our theme shining on the LTS as well.

Do you think the snap approach for 18.04 will give us more flexibility before shipping a finale version?

Yes - this was a very good idea. I am curious about how it will work out with all the other snaps which fallback to adwaita at the moment.

Any idea or wish on what the theme name (communitheme is a codename project) should be?

My idea would be: Orenji which means “Orange” on japanese, which could fit to our origami icon theme suru.

Any last words or questions I should have asked you?

This sounds like you want to execute me! So why didn’t you ask for my last meal? :)

Thanks Frederik!

Next interview coming up soon, stay tuned! :)

Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S11E07 – Seven Years in Tibet - Ubuntu Podcast

Enj, 19/04/2018 - 4:00md

This week we meet a sloth and buy components for the Hades Canyon NUC. The Windows File Manager gets open sourced, Iran are going to block Telegram, PostmarketOS explore creating an open source baseband, Microsoft make a custom Linux distro called Azure Sphere and we round the community news.

It’s Season 11 Episode 07 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

In this week’s show:

That’s all for this week! You can listen to the Ubuntu Podcast back catalogue on YouTube. If there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss, or you have any feedback on previous shows, please send your comments and suggestions to show@ubuntupodcast.org or Tweet us or Comment on our Facebook page or comment on our Google+ page or comment on our sub-Reddit.

Daniel Holbach: A month with Dell XPS 13 (9370)

Enj, 19/04/2018 - 8:55pd

After years of using Thinkpads, I went for a Dell XPS 13 with Ubuntu. Although I had bought devices with Linux pre-installed and laptops for friends as well, this  was going to be my first own laptop coming with Ubuntu straight from the factory.

 

The hardware

The specs looked great (big SSD disk, enough memory to play around with VMs/containers, etc.), but I had to brush away some fond memories of old laptops, where I was able to easily replace parts (memory, screen, disk, power jack, keyboard and more for my x220). With the XPS this was not easily going to be possible anymore.

Anyway, the new machine arrived in the office. It looked great, it was light,  it was really well-built and whatever task I threw at the machine, it dealt with it nicely. In general I really liked the hardware and how the machine felt a lot. I knew I was going to be happy with this.

A few things bothered me somewhat though. The placement of the webcam simply does not make sense. It’s at the bottom of the screen, so you get an upwards-angle no matter what you do and people in calls with you will always see a close up of your fingers typing. Small face, huge fingers. It’s really awkward. I won’t go unmanicured into meetings anymore!

The software

It came with an old image of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS pre-installed and after pulling a lot of updates, I thought I was going to get a nice fresh start with everything just working out of the box. Not quite.

The super key was disabled. As 16.04 came with Unity, the super key is one of the key ingredients to starting apps or bringing up the dash. There was a package called supey-key-dell (or some such) installed which I had to find and remove and some gnome config I had to change to make it work again. Why oh why?

Hardware support. I thought this was going to be straight-forward. Unfortunately it wasn’t. In the process of the purchase Dell recommended I get a DA300, a USB-C mobility adapter. That looked like a great suggestion, ensuring I can still use all my Old World devices. Unfortunately the Ethernet port of it just didn’t work with 16.04.

The laptops’s own screen flickered in many circumstances and connecting to screens (even some Dell devices) flickered even more, sometimes screens went on and off.

I got a case with USB-C adapter for the SSD disk of my laptop and copied some data over only to find that some disk I/O load nearly brought the system to a grinding halt.

Palm detection of the touchpad was throwing me off again and again. I can’t count how many times I messed up documents or typed text in the wrong places. This was simply infuriating.

Enter Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

I took the plunge, wiped the disk and made a fresh install of Bionic and I’m not looking back. Palm detection is LOADS better, Disk I/O is better, screen flickering gone, Ethernet port over USB-C works. And I’m using a recent Ubuntu, which is just great! Nice work everyone involved at Ubuntu!

I hope Dell will reconsider shipping this new release to users with recent machines (and as an update) – the experience is dramatically different.

I’m really happy with this machine now, got to go now, got a manicure appointment…

Jeremy Bicha: gksu removed from Ubuntu

Enj, 19/04/2018 - 2:49pd

Today, gksu was removed from Ubuntu 18.04, four weeks after it was removed from Debian.

Thomas Ward: NGINX Updates: Ubuntu Bionic, and Mainline and Stable PPAs

Mër, 18/04/2018 - 8:58md

NGINX has been updated in multiple places.

Ubuntu Bionic 18.04

Ubuntu Bionic 18.04 now has 1.14.0 in the repositories, and very likely will have 1.14.0 for the lifecycle of 18.04 from April of 2018 through April of 2023, as soon as it is released.

NGINX PPAs: Mainline and Stable

There are two major things to note:

First: Ubuntu Trusty 14.04 is no longer supported in the PPAs, and will not receive the updated NGINX versions. This is due to the older versions of libraries in the 14.04 release, which are too old to compile the third-party modules which are included from the Debian packages. Individuals using 14.04 should strongly consider using the nginx.org repositories instead, for newer releases, as they don’t need any libraries which the PPA versions of the packages need.

Secondly: With the exception of Ubuntu Trusty 14.04, the NGINX PPAs are in the process of being updated with NGINX Stable 1.14.0 and NGINX Mainline 1.13.12. Please note that 1.14.0 is equal to 1.13.12 in terms of features, and you should probably use NGINX 1.14.0 instead of 1.13.12 for now. NGINX Mainline will be updated to 1.15.x when NGINX has a ‘new’ Mainline release that is ahead of NGINX Stable.

Didier Roche: Welcome To The (Ubuntu) Bionic Age: Behind communitheme: interviewing Mads

Mër, 18/04/2018 - 1:35md
Interviewing people behind communitheme. Today: Mads Rosendahl

As discussed last week when unveiling the communitheme snap for ubuntu 18.04 LTS, here is a suite of interview this week on some members of the core contributor team shaping this entirely community-driven theme.

Today is the turn of Mads, madsrh on the community hub.

Who are you? What are you doing/where are you working? Give us some words and background about you!

My name is Mads Rosendahl (MadsRH) and I’m from Denmark. My dayjob has two sides, half the time I work as a teacher at a school of music and the other half I work in PR (no, not pull requests ;) ) where I do things like brochures, ads, website graphics, etc.

I’m no saint - I use OSX, Windows and Linux.

I got involved with Ubuntu back when everything was brown - around 7.10. When I read about Ubuntu, Linux and how Mark Shuttleworth fits into the story, a fire was lit inside me and I wanted to give something back to this brilliant project. In the beginning I set out to make peoples desktops brown and pretty by posting wallpaper suggestions to the artwork mailing list.

Because I can’t write any code, I mostly piggyback on awesome people in the community, like when I worked on the very first slideshow in Ubiquity installer with Dylan McCall.

I attended UDS in Dallas back in 2009 (an amazing experience!) and have had to take a long break from contributing. This theme work is my first contribution since then.

What are you mainly contributor areas on communitheme?

I do mockups, design, find bugs and participate in the conversations. I also suggested new system sounds and have a cursor project in the works - let’s see if it’ll make it into the final release of the theme.

How did you hear about new theming effort on ubuntu, what made you willing to participate actively to it?

I’ve been asking for this for a long time, and suddenly Merlijn suggested a community theme in a comment on a blogpost, so of course I signed up. It’s obvious that the best linux distribution, should have the most beautiful out of the box desktop ;)

How is the interaction with the larger community, how do you deal with different ideas and opinions on the community hub, issues opened against the projects, PR?

There’s an awesome community within Ubuntu and there has been a ton of great feedback and conversations around the decisions. It comes as no surprise that with (almost) every change, there are people both for and against. Luckily we’re not afraid of experimenting. I’m sure that with the final release we’ll have found a good balance between UX (what works best), design (what looks best) and branding (what feels like Ubuntu).

We have a small but awesome team put together back in november when the project was first announced, but we’ve also see a lot of other contributors file issues and step up with PR - fantastic!

It’s easy to see that people are passioned about the Ubuntu desktop.

What did you think (honestly) about the decision for not shipping it by default on 18.04, but curating it for a little while?

It’s the right move. I rest comfortably knowing that Canonical values stability over beauty. Especially when you’ll be able to just install a snap to get the new theme. Rather dusty and stable, than shiny and broken.

Any idea or wish on what the theme name (communitheme is a codename project) should be?

No, but off the top of my head how about: “Dewy” or “Muutos” (Finnish for change)

Any last words or questions I should have asked you?

Nope.

Thanks Mads!

Next interview coming up tomorrow, stay tuned! :)

Jono Bacon: Open Collaboration Conference (at Open Source Summit) Call For Papers

Mër, 18/04/2018 - 6:34pd

Back in February I announced the Call For Papers for the Open Collaboration Conference was open. For those of you in the dark, last year I ran the Open Community Conference as part of the Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit events in North America and Europe. The events were a great success, but this year we decided to change the name. From the original post:

As the event has evolved, I have wanted it to incorporate as many elements focused on people collaborating together. While one component of this is certainly people building communities, other elements such as governance, remote working, innersource, cultural development, and more fit under the banner of “collaboration”, but don’t necessarily fit under the traditional banner of “community”. As such, we decided to change the name of the conference to the Open Collaboration Conference. I am confident this will then provide both a home to the community strategy and tactics content, as well as these other related areas. This way the entire event services as a comprehensive capsule for collaboration in technology.

I am really excited about this year’s events. They are taking place:

  • North America in Vancouver from 29th – 31st August 2018
  • Europe in Edinburgh from 22nd – 24th October 2018

Last year there was a wealth of tremendous material and truly talented speakers, and I am looking forward to even more focused, valuable, and pragmatic content.

North America Call For Papers Closing Soon

…this neatly leads to the point.

The Call For Papers for the Vancouver event closing on 29th April 2018. So, be sure to go and get your papers in right away.

Also, don’t forget that the European event has the CFP close on the 1st July 2018. Go and submit your papers there too!

For both events I am really looking for a diverse set of content that offers genuine pragmatic value. Example topics include:

  • Open Source Metrics
  • Incentivization and Engagement
  • Software Development Methodologies and Platforms
  • Building Internal Innersource Communities
  • Remote Team Management and Methods
  • Bug/Issue Management and Triage
  • Communication Platforms and Methods
  • Open Source Governance and Models
  • Mentoring and Training
  • Event Strategy
  • Content Management and Social Media
  • DevOps Culture
  • Community Management
  • Advocacy and Evangelism
  • Government and Compliance

Also, here’s a pro tip for helping to get your papers picked.

Many people who submit papers to conferences send in very generic “future of open source” style topics. For the Open Collaboration Conference I am eager to have a few of these, but I am particularly interested in seeing deep dives into specific areas, technologies and approaches. Your submission will be especially well received if it offers pragmatic approaches and value that the audience can immediately take away and apply in their own world. So, consider how you package up your recommendations and best practice and I look forward to seeing you submissions and seeing you there!

The post Open Collaboration Conference (at Open Source Summit) Call For Papers appeared first on Jono Bacon.

Andres Rodriguez: MAAS 2.4.0 beta 2 released!

Mar, 17/04/2018 - 7:56md
Hello MAASters! I’m happy to announce that MAAS 2.4.0 beta 2 is now released and is available for Ubuntu Bionic. MAAS Availability MAAS 2.4.0 beta 2 is currently available in Bionic’s Archive or in the following PPA: ppa:maas/next MAAS 2.4.0 (beta2) New Features & Improvements MAAS Internals optimisation

Continuing with MAAS’ internal surgery, a few more improvements have been made:

  • Backend improvements

  • Improve the image download process, to ensure rack controllers immediately start image download after the region has finished downloading images.

  • Reduce the service monitor interval to 30 seconds. The monitor tracks the status of the various services provided alongside MAAS (DNS, NTP, Proxy).

  • UI Performance optimizations for machines, pods, and zones, including better filtering of node types.

KVM pod improvements

Continuing with the improvements for KVM pods, beta 2 adds the ability to:

  • Define a default storage pool

This feature allows users to select the default storage pool to use when composing machines, in case multiple pools have been defined. Otherwise, MAAS will pick the storage pool automatically depending which pool has the most available space.

  • API – Allow allocating machines with different storage pools

Allows users to request a machine with multiple storage devices from different storage pools. This feature uses storage tags to automatically map a storage pool in libvirt with a storage tag in MAAS.

UI Improvements
  • Remove remaining YUI in favor of AngularJS.

As of beta 2, MAAS has now fully dropped the use of YUI for the Web Interface. The last section using YUI was the Settings page and the login page. Both sections have now been transitioned to use AngularJS instead.

  • Re-organize Settings page

The MAAS settings  have now been reorganized into multiple tabs.

Minor improvements
  • API for default DNS domain selection

Adds the ability to define the default DNS domain. This is currently only available via the API.

  • Vanilla framework upgrade

We would like to thank the Ubuntu web team for their hard work upgrading MAAS to the latest version of the Vanilla framework. MAAS is looking better and more consistent every day!

Bug fixes

Please refer to the following for all 37 bug fixes in this release, which address issues with MAAS across the board:

https://launchpad.net/maas/+milestone/2.4.0beta2

 

The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 523

Mar, 17/04/2018 - 5:35pd

Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 523 for the week of April 8 – 14, 2018 – the full version is available here.

In this issue we cover:

The Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is brought to you by:

  • Simon Quigley
  • Rozz Welford
  • Elizabeth K. Joseph
  • Bashing-om
  • wildmanne39
  • Krytarik Raido
  • And many others

If you have a story idea for the Weekly Newsletter, join the Ubuntu News Team mailing list and submit it. Ideas can also be added to the wiki!

Except where otherwise noted, this issue of the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 License

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