Tuesday, 21 April 2009

So Whats New Bunny?

Now that the release is almost upon us of Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope I just want to take a brief look at what is new or has been upgrades since 8.10 Intrepid Ibex, you can find all this information and more at Ubuntu! These notes are from Ubuntu 9.04 Release Candidate;

GNOME 2.26

Ubuntu 9.04 RC includes the latest GNOME 2.26 desktop environment with a number of great new features, including:

- brasero, version 2.26.0, developed by Philippe Rouquier and Luis Medinas, as an all-in-one CD burning application. Brasero is now the default disc burning utility in Nautilus.

- Improved handling of multiple monitors with an updated gnome-display-properties by Federico Mena Quintero.

X.Org server 1.6

The latest X.Org server, version 1.6, is available in Jaunty. The latest Mesa 3D DRI, version 7.4, is also available. A number of video cards have been transitioned to free drivers as part of these updates.

The -ati driver has received numerous fixes and performance improvements. It now uses the EXA acceleration method by default. 2D acceleration support for the newest R6xx/R7xx family of cards is also available. 3D support is available up to R5xx cards for -ati. An updated -fglrx proprietary driver is available for R6xx/R7xx users who need 3D support.

The -intel driver now uses GEM for memory management. The new UXA acceleration architecture and DRI2 is available as an option.

Wacom tablet hotplugging

Wacom tablets now are enabled automatically when attached, no longer requiring xorg.conf modification. Button mapping configuration is not yet supported, but can be set manually by adding an fdi file to /etc/ha/fdi/policy/.

New style for notifications and notification preferences

Included in Jaunty is a simple menu which can be used to set preferences for notification icons, such as where they pop up on the taskbar. Ubuntu 9.04 beta also includes a whole new notification system, as shown in the Flash movie here:

Conceptualisation of Ubuntu Jaunty Notifications

Boot performance

A number of improvements to the Ubuntu start-up process bring significantly improved boot performance to Ubuntu 9.04 RC. Please open bugs if you experience any degradation, and tag them with boot-performance.

Linux kernel 2.6.28

Ubuntu 9.04 RC includes the 2.6.28-11.37 kernel based on

Ext4 filesystem support

Ubuntu 9.04 RC supports the option of installing the new ext4 file system. ext3 will remain the default filesystem for Jaunty, and we will consider ext4 as the default for the next release based on user feedback. There has been extensive discussion about the reliability of applications running on ext4 in the face of sudden system outages. Applications that use the conventional approach of writing data to a temporary file and renaming it to its final location will have their reliability expectations met in Ubuntu 9.04 beta; further discussion is ongoing in the kernel community.

Ext4 support in GRUB was provided by Colin King. If you choose to upgrade your / or /boot filesystem in place from ext2 or ext3 to ext4 (as documented on the ext4 wiki), then you must also use the grub-install command after upgrading to Ubuntu 9.04 RC to reinstall your boot loader. If you do not do this, then the version of GRUB installed in your boot sector will not be able to read the kernel from the ext4 filesystem and your system will fail to boot.

Ext4 support in gparted has been provided by Curtis Gedak.

Cloud computing

Ubuntu 9.04 Server Edition makes it easy to experiment with cloud computing. Eucalyptus, an open source technology which is included in Ubuntu as a technology preview, enables you to use your own servers to deploy, experiment and test your own private cloud that matches the Amazon EC2 API. You can dynamically create virtual machines, configure multiple clusters into a single Cloud and even provide an EBS (elastic block storage) equivalent and an S3 compatible storage manager.

Turn-key mail servers

The dovecot-postfix package in Ubuntu 9.04 RC provides an easy-to-deploy mail server stack, with support for SMTP, POP3, and IMAP with TLS and SASL.

dovecot-postfix was packaged by Ante Karamatić.

They are the most notable improvements since 8.10 and if you want even more information then I recommend you heading over to Ubuntu and Ubuntu Wiki. Those of you interested in development or being kept right up to date can sign up by CLICKING HERE.

Ubuntu...linux for human beings.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

This Is The Cover, Now Judge

I am among the many legions of people that inhabit the online world of social networks. Which is all fine and dandy until someone goes and gets 'tagged'. What is tagging? To the uninitiated it is when someone points you out in a video/photo and then anyone else who has access to the aforementioned medium now know who they are looking at. As you can imagine, the potential is there to bring us all closer but also to drive wedges

So when I joined the online world this morning...which was via my mobile, it can now come to me! The fabulous world of the 'push email'. Anyway, I found an email referencing the process of tagging and specificly the fact that they were tagged in a video that I had posted. They had peppered the email with nice messages and smiley faces to ensure that no feelings are hurt, I am writing this now, so we can judge the personal affects later. This is a strange but interesting coincidence, currently I am polishing off a 'convention on human rights in cyberspace', and one of the most important aspects of it is this right to privacy and anonymity should we so desire it. This is something I am passionate about so of course I will oblige, smilies or not.

Yet the grey matter has sparked and got me further thinking. With the recent noise over Google Streetview and the images of people doing questionable things in the streets or simply being somewhere were they ought not to be. Shame on Google! Then again, shame on Google? I personally find it distasteful the idea that every action we take, be it walking down the street to existing in cyberspace is being monitored and catalogued. We choose to do many things every day, some of those things are not always appropriate or even right. So when some catches us the common reaction is to cry 'snitch'. Guilt and remorse only seems to be proportionate to the amount of trouble we get into.

So can any of us really be ourselves? If you are a good and proper religious sort then you KNOW that every action you take is being watched so you are the obvious pillars of society and source of peace and knowledge...yeah...right. Being human is a hard thing to be these days as everyone can watch. Several people in the last few weeks have spoken to me of 'cyber stalking' and the lengths they have gone to. Nothing malicious by those people, not yet anyway. It was so very interesting to hear what lengths they have gone to just to be more informed about the people in their lives. A sign of the times? Not really, we all hear the rumours that go around, now they are just global and in different mediums.

I was young when I figured out that there really is no such thing as 'self', none of us are really individual in a true sense. We are the sum of our experiences and a product of the knowledge we have accumulated. The uniqueness comes when you started adding all this up, as it shapes us, as each of us utilise it in different ways. Cyberspace has enabled us to access information and give us a voice that can reach to anywhere that cyberspace has reached. This voice can also last for as long as some record remains on some storage medium, like an echo coming from nowhere and existing nowhere yet we all can hear and be it.

Try laying down alone in a room, lights out, no sound. Try to clear your mind, let not a thought be playing around in there. In the dark, silence and emptiness this is what has gone before you and will come after you. This is nothing. We are nothing. Right now, all I am is the sum of my experiences, which in the greater scheme will still amount to nothing. So should we run away and act out our lives thinking that we are under constant observations and fear who is and might be watching us in the future?

The video that got this blog entry written was of a group of people at a BBQ, singing, laughing and dancing. I have fun photos and recordings but it was my memory of being there and the experience of it that will always bring a smile to my face and lightly defrost a frozen old heart. Old friends and stronger bounds mixed with meeting new friends and new experiences. We forgot about the watchmen, we were ourselves, we were human and probably had a glimpse of something beautiful. Then again some people will see just noise and chaos as without a story it means nothing.

So maybe that is the moral? Something along the lines of 'do not judge a book by its cover' versus 'a picture is worth a thousand words'?

I am what I am because of who we all are.

Use Ubuntu? Lets Party!

Ubuntu: For Desktops, Servers, Netbooks and in the cloud

Excited yet? Well, you should be, Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope is coming at us fast. This Thursday the 23rd of April it will be available for all to download.

Before getting into the details of what has been updated in this new release let me just bring your attention to the Ubuntu community. Ubuntu users are all well aware of the Ubuntu Forums and Launchpad but with each new release comes a real chance to touch base with Ubuntu users in your area. A quick Google search for 'ubuntu (your area) jaunty release party' should get you started. Here in Ireland here are the details of what is going on from Ubuntu Ireland;

Jaunty Jackalope aka 9.04 is going to be released on the 23rd of April.

And if this is not a good enough excuse for you to party... it is going to be the tenth release
of Ubuntu!

Come join us all for the Ubuntu festivities on the 25th of April in Dublin.

The Irish Ubunteros will first meet for lunch at 1.30pm at Jimmy Chung's 8 Eden Quay, and then cross the river Liffey and make themselves comfortable in Messrs Maguire on Burgh Quay, near O'Connell Bridge, from 3pm.

Demos of Ubuntu 9.04, conversations about Ubuntu, GNU/Linux, and FOSS to be expected as well as general socializing and putting names to faces.

Looking forward to celebrating the latest release of Ubuntu with you all!

I intend to be present and looking forward to meeting members of the community here in Ireland. So what are you waiting for?

Ubuntu...linux for human being.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Humanity To Others

Have some spare RAM? Then why not try and help humanity and do your bit in saving the world. I (as Victor9098) have been helping the World Community Grid for almost a year now (though I have longer running projects with CERN and SETI). The available projects range from mapping the human gnome, trying to cure cancer and developing more effective drugs to fight Hep C and so on. You get to pick if you have a preference or give them all an equal go.

"Scientists believe that the grid of client computers around the world will complete the Help Conquer Cancer project image analysis that would otherwise take up to 162 years in roughly two years."

- TGdaily.com

I know you care and you can help the planet by doing almost nothing. It's free and easy. Our planet's getting smaller, flatter and smarter every day, and it's no wonder with initiatives like World Community Grid. Please join me and over 400,000 people who support World Community Grid. It's a ground breaking initiative that helps accelerate research into vital humanitarian projects. Here are some ways World Community Grid has made a difference:

* World Community Grid provided the 'Help Defeat Cancer' project with more than 2,900 years of computational power. This has enabled researchers to diagnose and analyse tumours with much greater accuracy.
* In June 2008, the AfricanClimate@Home project used World Community Grid to improve the models used to alleviate the adverse effects of climate change.
* Researchers for the FightAIDS@Home project have completed 5 years of research in just 6 months. They worked with chemists to design advanced inhibitors to treat the devastating disease.

World Community Grid is essentially a huge network of many individual computers all around the globe. By working together, these computers provide massive computational power that is equivalent to being in the world's 10 largest supercomputers.

When I joined, all I had to do was download a simple and secure program. The program can detect when my computer has unused computer cycles and during these times, my computer requests work from World Community Grid's server, performs computations on this data and sends the results back. I don't have to do anything at all and it's completely safe! Also, the progams settings may easily be changed to suit your need.

Because the work is split into small pieces that are processed simultaneously, research time is cut from years to months, or even days. It is also very cost-effective, enabling better use of critical funds.

"World Community Grid made it possible for us to analyze in one day the number of specimens that would take approximately 130 years to complete using a traditional computer."

- Dr. David J. Foran, professor and lead researcher at The Cancer Institute of New Jersey, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

I'm proud to support World Community Grid. To find out how you too can make a difference, go to the website at www.worldcommunitygrid.org and register today.

Thank you and see you on World Community Grid!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

The Monkey Is Dead...

...So Long Live The Rabbit!

Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Screenshot (002)
Goodbye Gutsy

On October 18th 2007 I got a taste of my second Ubuntu flavour, 7.10 'Gutsy Gibbon'. Now some 18 months and 2 upgrades later (8.04LTS Hardy Heron & 8.10 Intrepid Ibex) the impressive monkey will swing no more as it reaches its end of life on April 18th 2009.

Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Screenshot (005)
Gutsy & Compiz

End of life (EOL) means that "Ubuntu Security Notices will no longer include information or updated packages for Ubuntu 7.10", essentially bringing supported development and updates to an end. I would guess that most have moved on by now, but for those that have not the recommended upgrade path is through a series of steps (7.10 -> 8.04 -> 8.10 -> etc.). For further information CLICK HERE for the official Ubuntu news release.

Of course just a few days after the Gutsy Gibbon reaches its EOL we will be meeting the latest release of Ubuntu, 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope on the 23rd April 2008! So to share in the celebrations look out for 'release parties' in your area. Here in Ireland the release party will be on the 25th April and the days festivities are laid out on the Ubuntu Ireland website. So if you are about then come along and enjoy!

Ubuntu: For Desktops, Servers, Netbooks and in the cloud

Ubuntu...linux for human beings.