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Ubuntu Featured on Wikipedia August 7, 2006

Posted by Carthik in commentary, news, ubuntu.

WorldChanging is a forward looking, optimistic weblog that I read regularly, and it was on WorldChanging that I first read about the Ubuntu wikipedia article being the featured article on August 5th, displayed prominently on the front page of Wikipedia. Congratulations to Ubuntu! Seeing a post entitled “Ubuntu” on World Changing was a nice surprise, but I guess it is obvious that Ubuntu can be World Changing.

The WorldChanging article on Ubuntu mentions a post that questions whether free software is really such a good deal for Africa (Ethiopia in particular). The point he makes is:

But this assumes that the choice for African computer users is between expensive proprietary software and free opensource software. The reality is that they have a third choice – cracked, pirated proprietary software.

He then goes on to quote ridiculously cheap prices in the the Ethiopian market for cracked and pirated software.

This so wrong, on so many levels. The “free” is not just related to the price, it has more to do with a liberating, enriching, world changing feeling. Doing the right thing, or sticking with the underdog is never easy.

To quote Benjamin Mako Hill:

…principled positions are sometimes inconvenient. Free software is no exception. It’s frequently different, sometimes incompatible and a bit more work. In some situations (dare I say it?), it’s not as good as the proprietary alternatives.

It might be inconvenient in the short term, but the long term benefits and a nation free of the guilt of using pirated software is well worth the short term inconveniences.

What’s Your Ubuntu Story? August 3, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

Here’s your chance to be the harbinger of hope and freedom. The Ubuntu Fridge invites us all to submit stories of why and how we use Ubuntu. If you permit them, they might even use your story to popularize Ubuntu. So go for it!

The following is from Ubuntu – mystory. Go there and read up, in case there are updates.

If you are using Ubuntu in a business, school, government department, charitable organisation or research center we would like to hear from you.
Email us at mystory@ubuntu.com and tell us how you are using Ubuntu. We are particularly keen to know the following:

* How many computers you run on Ubuntu?
* Which applications you use?
* Why you chose Ubuntu?
* Whether you have shared Ubuntu with other organisations?
* What you like about Ubuntu?
* Which country and language(s) you use Ubuntu in?

Of course the more detail the better, but even if its just a paragraph that would be great. Photos are very welcome AND please state clearly if you are happy for us to share your story!

Over the next couple of months we would like to start sharing these stories and let others hear how Ubuntu works in your lives, schools and businesses.

So don’t wait, email us at mystory@ubuntu.com.

Ubuntu Counter Project July 24, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu, Ubuntu Sites.

Melissa ‘elkbuntu’ Draper writes in to tell us about her Ubuntu Counter Project. Just so you get a badge that says you are an Ubuntu User. Go ahead and get counted, if that is your kind of thing πŸ™‚

The Ubuntu Counter Project is like a miniature version of The Linux Counter. It aims to catalogue the number of registered machines using the numerous varients of the Ubuntu Linux distribution.

Why? Because, quite simply, Ubuntu rocks.

Thank Melissa.

Many Ubuntu Servers Down – Use a Mirror July 23, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

Many Ubuntu servers and services are down. Please use a Mirror instead of the normal repository you use if you need to install any new packages.
This page is a list of all the Ubuntu Mirrors.
You can use the old post to see how to update your sources.list file. Basically, edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file to use a different URL for the repositories.

It looks like a lot of people are working to restore the servers. Speculation includes a blackout of some servers caused by a heat wave or some other reason. I will keep you posted.

Evolution for Windows- an Outlook Replacement July 21, 2006

Posted by Carthik in applications, news, office, ubuntu.

Evolution provides integrated mail, contact management and calendaring in one solid app. Sort of reminds one of Outlook on Windows, doesn’t it? Until now, there was no installer for Evolution in Windows. That just changed. Ubuntu users can now use their favourite mail+contacts+calender app in Windows too, if they have to at the office, or some other windows-only environment.

A new installer makes it possible to install Evolution on Windows
, to replace MS Outlook. Evolution is an MS Exchange client and should work with Exchange servers. If it does not do that perfectly, file some bugs and someone will fix it for you for free. Most of the windows-porting work seems to have been done by Tor, whose update informs everyone of the new installer for Windows.

Will Evolution be to Outlook what Firefox is to Internet Explorer? Time will tell.

Introducing the Dapper-Commercial Repository July 8, 2006

Posted by Carthik in applications, news, ubuntu.

It is not the death of freedom in Ubuntu land, but it certainly is the birth of one kind of freedom – freedom of choice.

Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company has announced the dapper-commercial repository, where one will hopefully find packages released by commercial companies (read non-open-source) for use by Ubuntu users. Right now, all the repository has is Opera 9, and RealPlayer 10. Hopefully as time progresses, we will see more software, like, say, Skype, that are useful to users presently, though they are not open source, in this repository.

Some may say this is step backward for Ubuntu, but here’s some reasons this is not so, in my opinion:

1) The repositories are not Ubuntu repositories, they are on a seperate Canonical server. These repos are not included in Ubuntu by default, but users can add them if they like them. They are perfectly legal, with Canonical having laid the groundwork for distributing them.
2) I believe in freedom of choice – for me, I will use a superior product even if the source code is not free, if I feel like it! I am all for people making money off of their work, as long as they don’t start squashing or trashing other good things I like by wielding their power or influence. In short, let us all be, and we’ll probably like you, and even use you πŸ˜‰ Maybe I should think more about writing down the reasons why and when I’d use a non-open-source product, just for the heck of it.

So, friends, don’t worry, and be happy that you have more choices. If you’d like to start using the new repository, to get opera 9 or realplayer 10, then add the following line to your list of repositories:
deb http://archive.canonical.com/ubuntu dapper-commercial main
(I personally find it easiest to manually edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file and add the line in.
Then you need to do a $sudo apt-get update, and you are all set. You can install opera 9, for example, by doing a
$sudo apt-get install opera

I love Opera by the way, and would use it as my only browser if only they figured out a way to let me synchronize my bookmarks between multiple computers.

What can I say… April 21, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

I am busy. This is temporary. Being a student can mean loads of free time, at times, but can also mean times when you have to hunker down, and work to meet that deadline. I promise I will be free-er in a few days, and write more of the fancy stuff I have seen, and learnt. Gosh, one thing is for sure – I feel more productive than ever using Ubuntu. No frustration, the computer keeps running, and I keep working. I crash once daily, the computer, for a change, does not πŸ™‚

For now, please read Behind Ubuntu. I love the idea, and had thought of it myself, but was hesitant to ask the big wigs for interviews πŸ™‚

I now have a review copy of “Beginning Ubuntu Linux” by Keir Thomas, an Apress book. I will post a review as soon as I have read it. I promise, I will be fair to book, author and you πŸ™‚ Well, the book does mention this blog, but that shouldn’t impair my judgement.

The Dapper beta is out. They’re calling it LTS (for long term support). Try out the beta and file bugs, like good Ubunteros.

Oh, and I have been going berserk at the Bugtracker, helping with triaging bugs, which is quite addictive, and can replace a video game or two when it comes to rejuvenating a sagging spirit. Today is a Bug Day, and you can help triage bugs and make Dapper better than the best, too πŸ™‚

Tool to Migrate from Windows to Ubuntu Linux March 28, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

The Versora Progression Desktop is a tool to help users migrate settings and files from Windows to Linux. Versora now supports Ubuntu.

Our favourite Mark seems quite happy with it:

“Progression Desktop provides a valuable solution to those seeking to migrate their data and settings off their Window desktops over to Ubuntu,” said Ubuntu Founder Mark Shuttlesworth (sic). “It basically allows users to take their personality profile and data with them automatically and saves a lot of time when compared to a manual migration.”

You need a license of Versora for each desktop you migrate. A license costs $29.00. So the question is, would you pay $29.00 for “somebody” to migrate your settings and files from Windows to Ubuntu? If you would, then maybe you should try Versora.

I wonder how the thing works. Would like to try it, but can’t spare $29 for the purpose of experimentation.

MEPIS embraces Ubuntu March 28, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

MEPIS has started using the Ubuntu packages as the base, instead of Debian.

So, finally, the MEPIS distribution, which uses KDE as the window manager, and is quite popular on it’s own right will now be built upon the packages provided by the Ubuntu repositories.

A few things come to mind:

1) This does not make Kubuntu (the KDE version of Ubuntu) the same as MEPIS or vice-versa. MEPIS owes it’s success to the way the programs and preferences in it are tweaked to make life easier for the new Linux user. So MEPIS will be a variation on the theme.

2) I wonder if MEPIS will now follow a 6-month release cycle.

3) The number of Debian or Ubuntu based distributions in Distrowatch’s Most Popular Distributions goes up, again!

4) MEPIS has provided better support for multimedia, restricted formats etc, since they do not have the same ideological beleifs as the Ubuntu project. For KDE users, this means more choice, and perhaps an easier gateway to Ubuntu/Kubuntu.

5) MEPIS has a non-free (as in beer) distribution, for which one has to pay, called Pro-MEPIS. Wonder if MEPIS will share part of its profits with the Ubuntu foundation. Something tells me the answer will be “No”, but still…

Goobuntu – Analysis of a hoax February 1, 2006

Posted by Carthik in news, ubuntu.

I hope you have hear of the latest rumours regarding a Goobuntu OS supposedly being developed by google based off of Ubuntu. Well, if you haven’t, you haven’t missed much. Today (or yesterday) wasn’t the first I heard of Goobuntu.

Let me hazard a guess at how this rumour spread. A WEEK ago, I read this profile of Ubuntu/Mark Shuttleworth on the pages of an Africa-based website. That includes the following paragraph:

A key stage in Ubuntu’s growth will be persuading personal computer makers to sell machines with Ubuntu already installed. Google has developed its own version of Ubuntu, called Goobuntu. Shuttleworth says he is in talks with the city of Munich about creating an edition for them.

After reading thisI searched on Google (where else?) and found nothing (excpet a page in Japanese that I could not read) to report and so kept shut. However, I am guessing that an overactive imagination at Register must have made invisible connections between the rumoured google desktop OS and the mention of goobuntu in the article (which must have propagated through the feed-waves), to write this embarassment of an article. Among other things it has this to say:

Google has confirmed it is working on a desktop linux project called Goobuntu, but declined to supply further details, including what the project is for.

Again, we run into “undisclosed sources” and a lack of “further details”.

I used to read the Register once in a while, and had stopped a few months ago – apparently such sensationalist and questionable reporting is what they celebrate the most.

We had to wait a day to hear a google technology spokesperson say that these rumours were not true:

Despite today being earnings release day, presumably a very busy time at the Google press relations office, technology spokeswoman Sonya BorΓ€lv responded very quickly to my query on the topic. She said that “[w]e use Ubuntu internally but have no plans to distribute it outside of the company.”

However, the best part of the fiasco was this screenshot!! Folks have a hyper-active imagination, I tell you!

The good that hopefully came out of all this is that a few geeks (like us) who can’t be seperated from their feedreaders and forums would probably now be stoked by the question, “so what is this ‘Ubuntu’ all about then?”. I hope a few of them come to stay. That google uses Ubuntu internally is a great thing – a seemingly valid endorsement of how Ubuntu’s development has progressed so far, towards a simpler, stabler desktop linux.