The Humble Bundle with Android 6 has launched, bringing with it a selection of games for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.
The drill, as always, remains the same: the Humble folks have some games and you can buy them during the next 2 weeks for whatever price you like. Pay more than $1 and you get a key for Steam; pay more than the average and you get some cool extras.
On offer for the next fortnight are:
- Aquatic adventure game Aquaria
- Puzzle game Fractal: Make Blooms Not War
- Zombie-themed survival game Organ Trail: Director’s Cut
- Stealth strategy platformer Stealth Bastard Deluxe
- Rhythm game Pulse (Android only)
Beat the Average titles:
- Combat game Frozen Synapse
- Point and click adventurer Broken Sword: Shadow of the Templars – Director’s Cut
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The ‘Carrier Advisory Group’ (‘CAG’) formed by Canonical, and announced today, will provide a ‘forum for mobile operators to influence the development of Ubuntu for smartphones.’
So far there are eight members of the group:
- Deutsche Telekom
- Everything Everywhere (EE)
- Korea Telecom
- Telecom Italia
- LG UPlus
- Portugal Telecom
- SK Telecom
- Unnamed Spanish network
Eight telecoms carriers means it’s time to get excited, right? Not quite.
The CAG formation shows that there is a strong level of interest from the associated carriers in Ubuntu Touch as a platform – but it’s not a commitment to launch Ubuntu Touch on their networks ASAP.
Many of the companies are also part of other advisory projects for other mobile OSes. Deutsche Telekom and Telefonica – rumoured to be the ‘unnamed spanish carrier’ – for example, are also involved with Mozilla’s Firefox OS, as are SK Telecom. Sk Telecom also find time to be part of the Tizen Advisory Group.
But it’s still very good news for Canonical and anyone hoping to see Ubuntu Touch made a success.
The companies involved in the CAG will be briefed “about device manufacturer plans to support the OS, as well as the opportunity to be a launch partner for Ubuntu on smartphones,” Canonical has said.
The group will also hold meetings to discuss topics such as:
- Differentiation for OEMs and operators
- Developer ecosystems and application portability from Android and Blackberry
- HTML5 standards
- Performance and compatibility
- Marketplaces for apps, content and services
- Revenue share models for publishers, operators and OEMs
- Payment mechanisms and standards
- Platform fragmentation
- Consumer and enterprise market segments and positioning
Mark Shuttleworth says that ’…the CAG allows us to draw on the insights and support of such a thoughtful and experienced group of industry partners.’
For more information on the Carrier Advisory Group head over to Canonical mini-site
Today’s CAG announcement marks a significant step forward for the fledgling Ubuntu Touch platform – but gaining the interest from carriers is only part of the battle.
Next, Ubuntu Touch needs to get device manufacturers on board, and harness the app developer community into producing high-quality, useful apps to fill the plugs that may be left by apps not willing to port over to the platform.
To get these carriers to take a punt on Ubuntu Touch it needs to start rising above the rest of the disruptive mobile OSes also vying for the same attention.
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In a survey running until June 24th, users are being invited to share their approach to search with Unity’s designers.
‘We are interested in finding out how you interact with the Dash on Ubuntu, as well as with a large e-commerce website’, Canonical say.
‘Understanding our users is an integral part of the Canonical design process.’
So, as the team seek to improve the user experience of the Unity Dash, they’re turning to Ubuntu users for guidance.How To Help
Taking part in the research is straightforward.
You need to be using Ubuntu 12.10 or 13.04 and have the Shopping Lens enabled and be willing to:
- Record two videos of your screen whilst searching for a product in the Dash and on a website (relax, no need to actually buy anything)
- Send those videos to Canonical via a special e-mail address
- Complete a short survey on how you search in the Dash/website
We’ve been assured that the survey is completely anonymous and that all videos and data sent in will only be used by Canonical for analysis.
So what are you waiting for? Here’s your chance to help shape Unity. Hit the button below for a full briefing on what’s involved and how to get involved.
Deadline for all replies is June 24th, 2013 – so get your skates on!
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Ever wanted to control the brightness of your multi monitor setup independently but from the same place?
I know some of you reading this do as you’ve previously mailed in and asked if we knew of a solution.
Well, we found one.
Brightness Controller is a small tool using Xrandr to let you independently adjust the brightness of your primary and external monitors.
Not being a multi-monitor user myself I can’t confirm how well this app works; or whether it’s a software-based dimmer. But if you think it’d be useful you can find more information on how it works and how to use it on the Github page for the application.
If you’ve used a recent release of Ubuntu’s Unity desktop then you’ll know that opening apps, files and folders from the Dash requires nothing more than a left-click
But in Ubuntu 13.10 that behaviour has changed. And it’s a little annoying.Left Click, Right Click
“Both left and right clicking in the Dash will open the Preview.”
Over in Ubuntu development land a recent change in Dash behaviour has ticked off a handful of testers.
Left-clicking on an app icon or search result in the Dash no longer opens that item instantly. Instead, a Unity Preview of the item unfolds.
Unity Previews, introduced a few releases back, and previously opened by right-clicking on a result tile, offer up snippets of information, larger thumbnails, and context-specific ‘actions’ such as ‘install app’; ‘send via e-mail’ or ‘set as wallpaper’.
But in Ubuntu 13.10 both left and right clicking on an item in the Dash will open the Preview, where a ‘Launch’ action is available.2 Clicks And It’s Open
Applications and folders can still be opened instantly from the Dash by double-clicking on a result tile.
One assumes that this change has two main motivations behind it:
- Increase exposure to Unity Previews
- Be useful on touch screens
It’s possible that user testing of Previews has shown that they are hard to discover. Think about it: how many people are likely to right-click on a result tile if left-clicking – aka ‘the norm ‘- does what they expect?
With 13.10 bringing a barrage of web results into the Dash the Previews feature really comes into its own, so making them default is a smart, if annoying, move.Hamster-Themed Example
For example, Chuck Hamtowski searches for ‘hamsters’ in the Dash. He sees an app result – ‘Hamster TIme Tracker‘ – an image – Hamster-In-A-Wheel.jpg – and, with the Smart Scopes Service enabled, a variety of Hamster related web results, including music and reference items, are also shown.
If this was Ubuntu 13.04 then clicking on any result would see the Dash close and the application/file open.
With Smart Scopes this would mean that clicking on the hamster thumbnail for the Wikipedia result would open his browser.
“But I thought it was a picture! Why has Firefox opened?” Chuck would say.
Showing Chuck a Preview – a snippet of useful information from which to make a decision on – rather than shunting him out of the Dash – is by far the better option. This way he remains where he is; he can see what the item is about; and, if it’s what he’s looking for he can opt to ‘View’ it in his browser.It Can Be Disabled
This early on in Ubuntu 13.10′s development it’s best to assume that this change isn’t set in stone. It may only be a trial to see how well it works in the grand scheme of Unity’s user experience.
If you find the change really annoying you can disable it via the Dconf editor tool:
Have you used Ubuntu 13.10 recently? What do you think of this change?
Tired of typing out repetitive CSS? Made the switch to Sass and Compass but can’t remember what terminal commands to use? Compass.app might be just the tool you need!
Sass, a self-described “extension of CSS3″, takes some of the hair-pulling out of CSS. The Compass framework makes Sass a veritable Swiss Army knife, taking care of copious vendor prefixes for everything from rounded corners to drop shadows.
But the downside to “preprocessors” like Sass and Less is they require “compiling” files into CSS before you can use them on your site. Though you can follow the Compass guide to install Compass, “watch” a folder, and automatically recompile files for you from the command line, you can easily forget to run it when you’re juggling multiple projects.
Here’s where Compass.app – a GUI frontend for Compass’ command line tool – comes in. It sits in your menubar, out of the way, but dutifully watching your projects and compiling your Sass files as you update styles and add new projects for it to handle.
Although it’s open-source it’s also available to buy for $10. If you’d rather build it yourself, it’s not the world’s most user-friendly install, but if you’re a web developer using Sass and Compass, you’re probably used to the arcane ways of the command line.
Head over to the blog to follow the step-by-step instructions on using Compass.app in Ubuntu.
Ubuntu’s convergent goal is to have one OS running across multiple devices. No separate forks; no custom remixes, just one Ubuntu, with different faces depending on the screen it’s being viewed on.
As evidence of that goal the daily builds of Ubuntu 13.10 have welcomed some new applications into the Ubuntu Software Store: Ubuntu Touch Core Apps.
Gallery, Media Player, Notes & the webkit Web Browser are available to install and run on the Ubuntu 13.10 desktop.
All of the applications are in various stages of development (work on Ubuntu Touch and its core apps is ongoing) so don’t expect too much too soon.
That said, let’s take a look at what’s being offered.Web Browser
The webkit-based web-browser for Ubuntu Touch is fairly basic thus far, but also fairly stable.
The address field, and back/forwards buttons are part of the toolbar (swipe up to show) placed at the bottom.
Tabbed browsing is already supported, and tabs can be launched and closed from a toolbar item. Clicking on a tab and dragging it to the left closes it.
Running on the desktop the browser is fully resizable, and responsive websites – e.g. like ours – adapt seamlessly during this.
If you’re already using Ubuntu 13.10 you can install the web-browser app by clicking the button below.
If you’ve tried out one of the developer preview builds of Ubuntu Touch then you may have already played with the Notes app.
It’s nothing special; it lets you add and remove notes.
The Gallery application is the app I am most impressed by already.
Again, if you’ve played with the developer builds on the phone or tablet then nothing you see here will be unfamiliar: you can view your Photo library by event, album or alone.
Individual images can be opened and edited. At the time of writing both Rotate and Crop work fine, but Auto-Enhance does not.
Are they usable as desktop apps? Kind of.
As you’d expect, the interfaces of applications designed around digit input are not particularly mouse and keyboard friendly. Useable? Yes. Ideal? No.
For example, accessing the toolbar (drag up from the bottom) is hard to do with something as precise as a mouse pointer. Overshooting by a pixel or two and you accidentally end up resizing the window.
That and a lack of keyboard navigation are the only real user experience hurdles one comes up against when trialling these touch apps on the desktop.
In fact, if the toolbars were to remain visible when an app was in desktop mode then I’d probably find myself reaching for something like the Gallery app more often than Shotwell.
The important thing to remember is that its early days for these apps, and for touch apps on the desktop.
You’ll be able to go hands on with more than just touch apps in 13.10 – developers are hoping to include a separate Unity 8 session powered by the new display compositor Mir for willing testers to play with.
Having trouble trying to mount the Google Nexus 4 on Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10? Judging by our post-bag over the last few months you wouldn’t be alone.
Like all Nexus models, the Nexus 4 doesn’t come with any form of inbuilt expandable storage. everything saves directly to the flash memory inside.
This might make things quicker to access on your phone, but makes it a little troublesome to access them from within Ubuntu!
Linux being Linux there are, of course, a stack of solutions addressing this, letting you access and transfer files between your computer and your Nexus handset with relative ease.
We’re going to look at two them below.Sukria’s Steps
We’ll start with the method suggested by perl-hacker and blogger Sukria. Simply because of the two it is arguably the easiest to follow.
It’s aimed specifically at Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and 12.10, and requires the installation of a backported version of the GVFS – the GNOME Virtual File System – that supports the newer MTP protocol used on Nexus devices.
Using Ubuntu 13.04? The good news is that required packages are already available, so you don’t need to follow this step.
Open a terminal and issue the following two commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:langdalepl/gvfs-mtp sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
After installing I’d recommend giving your system a reboot just to make sure everything takes effect. If all has gone well the next time you connect your Nexus you should be able to access it directly in Nautilus.Manish’s Method
If the steps above don’t work then all is not lost – reader Manish A. S. mailed us with a comprehensive guide to his preferred solution, telling us:
“I have tried many different methods to mount my Nexus 4 on Ubuntu and none have ever truly worked. Finally after much surfing I found the following to work (thanks to XDA Developers).”
He’s prepped a 9-step guide, available to download by hitting the button below:
And a video* tutorial detailing the process from start to finish:*Our publishing of this video should not be taken as endorsement of his wallpaper
The debate about which web browser should come installed by default on Ubuntu 13.10 continues.
Discussion on switching from the current default ‘Firefox’ to the webkit-based* ‘Chromium’ were first raised at the Virtual Ubuntu Developer Summit (vUDS) back in May.
Continuing that discussion in a post to the Ubuntu Desktop Mailing List Canonical’s Jason Warner writes:
“In the past few weeks I’ve seen quite a few articles and comments on the possible switch, and in light of those I’d like to focus this discussion a few ways.
1. This is NOT about which browser is better.
2. This is NOT about which browser has more features or X, Y or Z feature.
3. Openness and freedom are still part of our core values. However I’d rather not turn this thread into a “who is more open/free” debate.
What is important, and ultimately should be the deciding factor, is the common end user experience. Which browser, in the common case, will be the best for the general end user?”
Quality, stability and user experience as highlighted by Warner as important points for consideration.So Which?
“8,300 people voted, with 57% favouring Firefox, compared to 43% who chose Chromium.”
We conducted a vote last month asking readers which browser they’d prefer to see as default.
Over 8,300 people voted, with 57% favouring Firefox, compared to 43% who chose Chromium.
Slim split, and hardly decisive.
Part of the rationale that started talk on switching was that idea that more people are using Chrome(ium) than Firefox in general.
“Is Firefox winning because it benefits from the convenience of being pre-installed?”
Judging by visits to this site from Linux users for the last 30 days Firefox still rules the roost with 50.9% to Chrome’s (including Chromium) 46.8%. Opera and minor webkit using browser (Web, Midori, Rekonq) make up the remaining scraps.
Is Firefox winning because it benefits from the convenience of being pre-installed? Could be.
But this stat certainly shows that almost 50% of Linux users go out of their way to use something that isn’t the default.Bottom Line
As of yet no decision has been taken, but Warner himself states that he is ‘still leaning towards Chromium’.
Of course, the bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter which browser comes by default. Both will remain available to install from the Ubuntu Software Centre (albeit Chromium has, up until recently, been poorly maintained).
Which would you prefer?*Now a webkit fork
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The world’s first ultra-thin laptop to use Intel’s Iris Pro graphics has today been unveiled by Ubuntu-dedicated hardware company System76.
Intel’s new Iris Pro graphics, which is said to deliver up to 2x the performance over their existing integrated graphics.Galago UltraPro
It’s new, it’s slim and it’s super-thin. And, like all System76 devices, it’s named after an animal.
But what sets the 14.1″ Galago UltraPro apart from its Ubuntu-toting competitors is the CPU. The Galago is powered by a 4th generation Intel i7 – yes, Haswell – so as well as peppier performance comes brilliant battery life.
The diminutive 0.75″ case:
- 14.1″ 1080p IPS screen
- Quad-core Intel i7-4750HQ Processor (Haswell) clocked at 2.0Ghz
- Intel Iris Pro Graphics (128 MB eDRAM)
- 4GB DDR3 RAM
- 500GB HDD
The Galago UltraPro is available to pre-order now from $995. More RAM, SSD, second hard-drive can be configured before purchase.
Shipments are due to begin in July.
System76′s popular 15.6″ Gazelle Professional portable has also been refreshed with a Haswell CPU.
Also included is a 1080p IPS display option, increased battery life and the addition of mSATA as a new storage option.
Pricing starts from $799. Shipping dates commence June 2013.
Slick new processors and powerful graphics performance aside, both the Gazelle Professional and Galago UltraPro come with one another awesome feature; for the first ever custom manufactured Ubuntu keys.
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Trying to buy Dell’s developer-orientated Ubuntu laptop – the XPS 13 – is a confusing affair at present.
Several readers have contacted us to say that the device is no longer being offered for sale on the Dell US website.
Attempting to purchase the item through on the US site shows the following error:
“Sorry, but this item is no longer available for purchase online. Please contact your sales representative for details on how to order.”
One of those who contacted Dell US to try and make a purchase says he was told that the item is ‘no longer being offered’, whilst another said he was able to make a purchase over the phone.
Confusing stuff.Available Elsewhere
So why the US change? It could simply be that stock is low (likely); the device isn’t selling well stateside, or, that a refresh is on the way.
Back in April the project lead of the ‘Sputnik’ project (‘sputnik’ is the codename for the XPS Linux device) asked developers what they’d like to see in a future update:
“Besides the chip and the RAM what else do you want to see? Screen size? graphics? Physical size of system? We are looking into offering a big brother to the current Sputnik and are collecting requirements.” – Barton George
We’ve reached out to our Dell contacts in the US to see what’s going on. As soon as we know something we’ll update this post accordingly.Thanks to Dakota L, Oussama E-R, Stuart H & ‘l0oter44′
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A native Linux port of adventure game Dear Esther – sold as part of the recent Humble Indie Bundle 8 – is now available for download.
It had previously been a re-purposed Windows build running on WINE, the Windows compatibility layer.
The native Linux build is available to download direct from the Humble website for those who bought the recent bundle as a standalone .bin file.
But don’t expect too much, too soon. The Humble folks are describing the release as an ‘initial’ version, urging gamers to ‘stay tuned for updates’.
The Humble Indie Bundle 8 sold nearly 500,000 copies in 14 days and making over $2.5 million.
See a trailer for Dear Esther below.
The ten best-selling Ubuntu applications during the month of May have been revealed.
What hasn’t been revealed is a surprise. Stormcloud, a desktop-based weather app, remains the top-selling app on Ubuntu for the 5th consecutive month in a row, selling 78 copies between May 1st and May 31st.
This position is all the more impressive in light of the forecasts feature in the app being hampered by a Yahoo! Weather API curtailing, and the app not being available to buy on Ubuntu 13.10.Elsewhere
Unusually there are no new entries in last month’s chart, but two Minecraft installers, MC Launcher ($2.99) & Mini Minecraft Launcher ($4), do make a reappearance.
Braid continues to sell enough to chart. Its appearance for May means it has now been in the Ubuntu’s Top 10 selling applications for 20 months in a row.May 2013′s Top 10 Paid Apps
[App name/April Position]
- Stormcloud (1)
- Fluendo DVD Player (2)
- Filebot (5)
- Quick ‘n Easy Web Builder (7)
- MC-Launcher (re-entry)
- Mini Minecraft Launcher (re-entry)
- Braid (8)
- UberWriter (6)
- Drawers (9)
- Bastion (10)
Has interest in Steam for Linux peaked? Judging by recent stats collected by the popular gaming service, a decline is evident.
May results for the Steam Hardware & Software Survey show a drop in the number of Linux users for the third consecutive month.
The percentage of Steam gamers using Linux has fallen from a peak of over 2.0% in February1 – the month directly following its stable release – to a smidge over 1.3% during May.Why The Drop?
What could be accounting for this drop? Should we be worried? I don’t think so.
Despite some optimistic oratories early on that Linux would overtake OS X in user numbers, what we’re seeing here isn’t so much of a drop as a settling.
The hype of the initial release inflated interest is now settling into a truer position.. interestingly, while the stats do not represent a direct representation of the 5 million active Steam users (the survey is optional) the Linux share is fluctuating around the same 1-2% mark that analysts insist is the market share of Linux on the desktop.
Another possible factor is that despite the increasing catalogue of games available on Steam for Linux many top-tier titles aren’t yet available. If someone has such games in their Steam Library they’ll have to boot into Windows to play them.
It’s also worth noting that Valve changed the way they present Linux results several months back. Linux distros with marginally small shares (Fedora, Magia, etc) are lumped together with older versions of OS X in an “other OS” category.
This change makes gleaning info on Linux’s share a bit little harder. But, thankfully, we can use the popularity of Ubuntu – the single largest Linux distribution represented on Steam – as a marker.Data
Ubuntu commands the majority share of all Linux installs. Ubuntu-based Linux Mint comes in second with around 0.2% of the entire 1.3% Linux figure – something worth bearing in mind the next time someone misquotes Distrowatch stats as evidence of user base.
Ubuntu usage on Steam is as follows (from December 2012 through May 2013):
- December – 0.8%
- January – 1.12%
- February – 1.82%
- March – 1.17%
- April – 1.11%
- May – 1.12%
Linux stat presentation aside, we can see that there’s a drop in the number of Ubuntu users on Steam.
Whatever the reasons may be, the small percentage hides the fact that this is still a huge number of users. To put the numbers into perspective Valve say there are 54 million active Steam users. Using the stats above that translates into around 650,000 Ubuntu users.
That’s 650,000 customers who are willing to front up cash to buy games for Linux – a number Valve will not hard to be too upset by.1 – Reports of February share range from 2% to 2.5%, but 2.02% is the one referenced by a number of reputable sites
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I love that Spotify provide a native Linux client. I don’t love that it looks a little out of place.
Spotify fan Juho ‘Kurko‘ Kurki has tweaked a few of the artwork assets used by the application toolbar to better blend in with the rest of the Ubuntu desktop under Ambiance.Install the Ubuntu Spotify Skin
It should go without saying – but i’ll say it anyway – that you need to have Spotify for Linux installed before following this guide.Need help installing Spotify on Ubuntu? See this handy install guide.
There are two ways to apply the Spotify Ubuntu skin. Both are fairly straightforward, so choose whichever one you’re more comfortable with.Terminal method
To install skin via the command line just use the following two commands:wget http://kurkot.us/spotify-skin/resources.zip sudo mv resources.zip /opt/spotify/spotify-client/Data/resources.zip Manual Method
Want to do it the GUI way? No problem.
First download Kurko’s Spotify skin:
Next, press Alt+F2 to open the command prompt. Type/paste the following into it:gksu nautilus /opt/spotify/spotify-client/Data
Grab the ‘resources.zip’ file you downloaded in the previous step and move it in into this folder. Choose to overwrite the existing package of the same name when prompted.
Now start Spotify (or restart if already open) and the new theme will take effect.Reverting
Want to revert back to stock Spotify? Repeat the above steps but using the original resources.zip file.
The resources.zip archive contains virtually every interface element used by Spotify – from play buttons to the scrollbars – so it’s possible that Spotify skins for other GTK themes could appear in the future.
The next major update to Windows 8 will add a new search experience to the Windows 8 desktop – one that Ubuntu users will already be familiar with.
Windows 8.1 overhauls the inbuilt Windows Search feature to offer results not just from local apps, files and settings on the computer but also from the web and online media sites.
A bit like Unity’s Dash.
“You can see everything you can do on the PC in one pane. I can launch apps, play music; it brings back web results.” – MicrosoftWindows 8.1 Search – Not a Rip Off
The idea of fetching and presenting a mix of online and offline results is a logical one in light of the dividing lines between desktop and web blur into irrelevance elsewhere on the desktop (e.g. Unity Web Apps; Chrome Packaged Apps).
So while Microsoft haven’t ripped off something exclusive to Unity it is fair to say that Ubuntu was the first OS to pursue and make the ‘search anything, anywhere’ concept a key part of the Ubuntu desktop.
Idea aside, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
Where Unity presents its results in the Dash, making use of Unity previews to add actions and further information, Windows 8.1 has what it calls “Search Heroes”.
A ‘Search Hero’ is created ad-hoc when a users types a search query. Described by Microsoft as being ‘app like’, they offer a contextualised view of results returned for a search term.
Unity is aiming to do something similar with the new Smart Scopes Service, which aims to find what it is you’re searching for then offer up results that match it.
Given that Microsoft have the advantage of owning an entire search engine, not to mention a series on media-content sites, there’s no doubt that its results will be incredibly finely tuned.
The most important point about the feature’s arrival is that it shows that good features catch on; it’s nice to see Ubuntu’s Unity vision being vindicated by its competitors.
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Would you be more likely to use Google Drive if there was an official native client available for Linux?
Without needing to employ USA-style surveillance I can wager that ‘yes’ would be the response from many of you.
Hoping to harness this want, a new petition has been launched with the aim of persuading Google to create one.Wait, isn’t there supposed to be one coming anyway?
Back in April of last year, when Drive was launched, Google assuaged anger from Linux users feeling left out by assuring that a Linux client was on the roadmap.
A year on and that client has yet to materialize in any shape or form.
Which is slightly puzzling when you realise that many Google employees use an internal OS based on Ubuntu. Surely they’d want Drive functionality, too?
Drive is supported natively on Chrome OS via the File Manager application. Standalone desktop apps for Mac and Windows, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS, are also available.
Whilst there are handful of third-party solutions around, the most notable being InSync, many of these are in the process of transitioning to a paid model – not ideal.
If you fancy adding your voice to the call for a client, hit the link below. We’ll be sure to update you if we hear anything in the meantime.
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Unity’s much-delayed Smart Scopes Service has arrived in the development builds of Ubuntu 13.10.
The feature aims to add a more comprehensive and relevant search experience to the Ubuntu desktop. Over 50 new ‘Scopes’ – a data-specific search backend – will come installed by default. Some of these deliver results from popular websites like Wikipedia, Yahoo!, and Google; others deliver data from locally installed applications, like music players and installed apps.
Each of these scopes can be disabled individually by right-clicking on it:Smart Scopes Now Smarter
The Smart Scopes feature was originally intended to debut in Ubuntu 13.04, but was eventually considered ‘not mature enough’. Whilst this was a shame, it was necessary. The version debuting in 13.10 is, I’m pleased to say, is faster, more intelligent, and more featured than that targeted for 13.04.
Admittedly many remain suspicious about how useful it will be. Over the coming months eager testers will get to find out. But, if you found yourself aggrieved by the “irrelevancy” of Amazon shopping results when looking for a local file or application, prepare for much of the same – just on a larger scale:
As bad as the image above might look to some the Dash is doing what it’s meant to. Empathy, the app I was searching for, is in top spot. I don’t have to scroll or wade through to find it.
For source specific searches you can use modifiers. Want to quickly search Wikipedia? Prefix ‘wiki:query’.
Modifiers are great, but they are a power-users tool. Do you use them on Google? I don’t. And that means that for me the “default” set of results returned will be more important.
That’s where the “smart” in ‘Smart Scopes Service’ will come in. The relevancy of results will be determined by people like us. As we search and click on results the ‘smart scopes server’ that delivers the results will learn which types of results are more relevant for which terms.
Given that the feature has only just landed in 13.10 the results are not as finely tuned as they should be by October. So if you’re using Saucy already keep that in mind when using it.
Other than that, the feature adds an insane amount of potential to the Unity desktop. A world of results, and the ability to interact with them, will be only the tap of a Super key away…
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Canonical’s Ubuntu Community Manager Jono Bacon has shown off the latest progress to Ubuntu Touch as of this month.
If you haven’t seen much of Ubuntu Touch since the earlier releases back in January and February, then you’ll be surprised at how fast progress is happening.
The network and Messaging menus now work; much of the dummy data included on earlier builds has been removed; and there are a handful of functioning apps available for Ubuntu Touch, albeit still rough around the edges.
All “core features” of the phone are working – calling, SMS, and data over 3G.
While not a single handset manufacturer or mobile carrier has yet publically committed to shipping Ubuntu Phone, Canonical remain confident that the first Ubuntu Touch devices will ship in ‘early 2014′, with Ubuntu Touch tablets following in the months thereafter.Thanks to Patrick Quinn
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It’s been a few months since I last checked in on the progress of Australis, the new Firefox interface coming to Windows, Mac and, of course, Linux.
Australis is designed to create a consistent interface across desktop and mobile versions of Firefox, whilst also remaining “native looking” to the system it’s on.
Since my last look in March a new menu has been implemented. It doesn’t sit to the left of the tab-strip as in current Firefox builds but on the far right, behind a ‘hotdog’ icon.
It’s easy to shout ‘Chrome Clone’ at this icon but the menu that sits behind it is anything but. There us no long-winded list of options. Instead Firefox offers up a curated set of icons for easy clicking (and, one assumes, ‘tapping’).
In a neat touch, both the popover menu, and virtually every other interface element, can be rearranged in a new WYSIWYG editor.
The new look is expected to debut in Firefox 25, due later this year.
In the meantime, if you want to have a poke around with it you can find the latest UX Nightly behind the link below.
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