GNOME is perhaps *the* the most popular Linux desktop envoronment out there. And GNOME 3.22 is the latest stable release from GNOME foundation. Yet, it is almost impossible to find a mainstream Linux distro that ships the latest and greatest from GNOME. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS for example has no plans to bring this GNOME release to its users anytime soon. Forget Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, the still-in-development Ubuntu 16.10 will have GNOME 3.20 by default. But there is this one particular distro that already has the latest GNOME 3.22!

gnome 3.22 linux

Say Hello to openSUSE Tumbleweed!

Ubuntu 16.10 "Yakkety Yak" will have GNOME 3.20 by default. You might be able to upgrade GNOME 3.20 to 3.22 with some unofficial PPAs, but that is not a perfect solution, especially on productions machines.

Worry not, openSUSE Tumbleweed has you covered. The Tumbleweed distribution is a pure 'rolling release version of openSUSE containing the latest stable versions of all software instead of relying on rigid periodic release cycles.' Tumbleweed is based on openSUSE's main development codebase and is updated once the codebase's bleeding edge software has been integrated, stabilized and tested. In effect, openSUSE Tumbleweed contains the latest stable applications and is ready and reliable for daily use.

gnome 3.22 opensuse

This image was tweeted by openSUSE Chairman himself. Less than 48 hours after the unveiling of GNOME 3.22 (Karlsruhe), openSUSE Tumbleweed users are getting the full upstream experience of the latest GNOME. Official announcement by openSUSE on GNOME 3.22 integration can be found here. Also read: Tumbleweed download and installation instructions. I have just completed the download, but haven't tested it on any of my machines yet. Will hopefully do a full review on GNOME 3.22 once that's done.

Keep in mind that, Debian Unstable and Arch Linux also have updated GNOME 3.22 packages. But as far as I understand, both versions are not really recommended for daily use. Since I have never used Arch, I can never be sure about this. Feel free to correct me if I wrongly assumed Arch's GNOME 3.22 implementation to be less stable. Thanks for reading. If all goes well, we'll be reviewing GNOME 3.22 with openSUSE Tumbleweed soon.

bing wallpapers ubuntu

Bing Wallpapers for Linux app brings the gorgeous "Bing Image of the Day" featured wallpapers to Linux. The app itself is pretty straight forward. You can either manually check/update if/when a new wallpaper is available or you could just restart your system and find Bing's latest "featured image" as your desktop wallpaper. And I have to say, they are pretty darn good! By default, the app would check for new wallpapers every 3 hours.

bing image of the day for linux

Though I have tested this only on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, this should work on other Debian based distros such as elementary OS or Linux Mint. Installation is just 3 steps, do the following in Terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:whizzzkid/bingwallpaper
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install bingwallpaper

Done. As you can infer from the post-installation instructions in Terminal, the Bing Wallpapers for Linux app will automatically set the latest Bing "featured image" as your wallpaper upon reboot. But if you want to see the results immediately, you need to run the following command in Terminal.

sh /usr/bin/bingwallpaper

Voila! And you have your latest Bing wallpaper up and running in Ubuntu! If you are inclined, all the images will be available at the following directory in Ubuntu: "~/Pictures/Bing/". See project's page on GitHub. Thanks to our reader Evan for sharing this news with us. And thanks for reading!

open source self driving car

Open Source is not alien to self-driving car technology. We know for fact that Google's self-driving cars are using 'lightly customised Ubuntu' at its core, and we have spotted Ubuntu on Mercedes-Benz driverless research car. But what Sebastian Thrun and Udacity is proposing is something radically different.

Not many here must have heard about Udacity. They are a for-profit online education startup who recently created a self-driving car engineering Nanodegree program to cater the burgeoning autonomous car industry. The company is partnering with Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America, Didi, Otto, and Nvidia on this nanodegree program for self-driving cars.

udacity

During the TechCrunch Disrupt event, Udacity co-founder, Sebastian Thrun revealed that the company intends to build its own self-driving car as part of its self-driving car engineering Nanodegree program, and that it also intends to open source the technology that results, so that "anyone" can try to build their own self-driving vehicle.

Consulting firm BCG believes the market for partially and fully autonomous vehicles will be at $22 billion by 2025. And Udacity intends to fill some of that gap for skilled engineers with its new Nanodegree program. The open-sourcing of resulting tech could help the eco-system grow even faster. The crowdsourced autonomous vehicle plans will ultimately be created in service of the school, rather than as an end-product. More on Udacity's attempts to create the first fully open-source self-driving car here.

As we reported exactly an year ago, Italian Military's plans to migrate its entire fleet of desktop PCs to LibreOffice is well underway and has reached its first milestone. Since the project got started about an year ago, the Italian military have switched over 8000 PC workstations to LibreOffice.

libreoffice

Italian Military's LibreOffice Migration Well Underway

As they say, well begun is half done. Italian Military's long drawn out plans for migrating its computers from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice is well under way. In the first phase of the project, over 8000 of its PC workstations has been successfully migrated to LibreOffice. And over the next 4 years, LibreDifesa project (as it is officially known) aims to migrate Italian Military's entire 100,000+ systems to LibreOffice. This would make it the largest free software transition involving desktop PCs by a European public administration.

LibreItalia, an an open source advocacy group based out of Italy, is helping Italian Military in this massive endeavour. LibreItalia volunteers are working with the military, training the trainers and the support staff. They also introduce LibreOffice to top officials, and help prepare the communication that explain the motive for the switch. The LibreDifesa project is expected to save EUR 26 to 29 million for the exchequer.

But saving money isn't just the only concern for the Military. According to open source observatory, "the main motives for the switch include interoperability and long-term accessibility of documents and information. The military are standardising on the Open Document Format (ODF) and are urging its users to use free fonts."
"The switch to LibreOffice is so far posing no real problems for the users", said Sonia Montegiove, who is also the president of the LibreItalia open source advocacy group. She presented the LibreDifesa project last Friday at the FSFE Summit in Berlin.
Apparently, the military is also contemplating the use of Linux for their desktop workstations, and are piloting the Zimbra email, calendaring and collaboration suite. And it's not just the Italian Military. Only recently we learned that big MNCs like Daimler AG has been migrating its critical servers to SUSE Linux. Even cities as large as Toulouse in France and Turin in Italy have opted for Ubuntu and other open solutions thereby saving millions of Euros.

[Via Open source observatory; Also read Sonia Montegiove's presentation (PDF) at FSFE Summit, Berlin]
For some unknown reason, Paramount Pictures has decided that the freely distributed Ubuntu OS torrents are "infringing" their copyrights on Transformers movie! Paramount Pictures recently sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google, accusing Ubuntu OS of infringing their copyrights.

DMCA takedown notice

Paramount Pictures Sends Takedown Notices to "Infringing" Ubuntu Torrents

Just when you thought the copyright infringement drama can't get any sillier, Paramount Pictures decides to send takedown notice to Google, accusing Ubuntu OS torrents of "infringing" their copyrights over 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' movie. According to torrentfreak, copyright holders sent millions of takedown requests to Google every week and "it’s no surprise that errors are made". But their latest "error" seems rather odd. 

DMCA Ubuntu takedown notice

As you can see, the torrent URL or the destination doesn't contain any references of this particular movie. Yet, a notice sent out by the movie studio's anti-piracy partner a few days ago, and Google was asked to remove the Ubuntu torrent download page on ExtraTorrent, a popular torrent download website.

What's even more interesting is the fact that, instead of any fact-checking, Google went ahead and took down the "infringing" URL. May be its just the standard practice given the sheer volume of takedown requests Google receives every other day (some three million requests per day, as per some reports). But here is the thing.
"Paramount's mistake may be relatively harmless, but it shows once again how much can go wrong with these automated DMCA notices. Whether these errors can be rooted out is doubtful as there is very little incentive for copyright holders to improve their accuracy."
Read the detailed report and discussions at TorrentFreak
Taskwarrior is a simple, straight-forward command-line based TODO app for Ubuntu/Linux. This open-source app has to be one of the easiest of all CLI based apps I've ever used. Taskwarrior helps you better organize yourself, and without installing bulky new apps which sometimes defeats the whole purpose of TODO apps.

taskwarrior

Taskwarrior: A Simple CLI based TODO App That gets the Job Done!

Taskwarrior is an open-source and cross-platform, command-line based TODO app, which lets you manage your to-do lists right from the Terminal. The app lets you add tasks, shows you the list, and removes tasks from that list with much ease. And what's more, it's available within your default repositories, no need to fiddle with PPAs. In Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and similar, do the following in Terminal to install Taskwarrior. 

sudo apt-get install task

A simple use case can be as follows:

$ task add Read a book
Created task 1.
$ task add priority:H Pay the bills
Created task 2.

This is the same example I used in the screenshot above. Yes, you can set priority levels (H, L or M) as shown. And then you can use 'task' or 'task next' commands to see your newly-created todo list. For example:

$ task next

ID Age P Description                      Urg
-- --- - -------------------------------- ----
 2 10s H Pay the bills                     6
 1 20s   Read a book                       0

And once its completed, you can use 'task 1 done' or 'task 2 done' commands to clear the lists. A more comprehensive list of commands, use-cases can be found here. Also, Taskwarrior is cross-platform, which means you'll find a version that fits your needs no matter what. There's even an Android version if you want one. Enjoy!
SUSE technologies are helping Daimler AG, the German automotive behemoth, to migrate a large proportion of its mission-critical servers from proprietary UNIX operating systems to 'the open and flexible Linux platform'.

daimler migrates to linux

Daimler AG: Automotive Giant Latest to Adopt Linux

Daimler AG joins a long list of companies and even cities that have joined the open source bandwagon. SUSE technologies, being one of the earliest providers of Enterprise Linux solutions, helped Daimler AG to migrate a large proportion of its mission-critical servers from proprietary systems to Linux platform, specifically to SUSE Linux. This is a major win for the proponents of enterprise level solutions based on Linux and open-source.

Historically, Daimler AG used a number of proprietary UNIX distributions for the task. But managing multiple environments increased costs and required the company to maintain different skill sets to accomplish very similar tasks on different platforms. This is where SUSE technologies pitched in with their Linux Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution based on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
"A key target for the new project was to migrate away from UNIX on proprietary hardware towards Linux on commodity x86 servers. The objective was to standardize on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a single distribution of Linux wherever practical. The openness and ease of customization of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, as well as its closeness to UNIX, made it the ideal starting point for this virtual platform concept."
Initially, the company deployed SUSE Manager with 28 distributed SUSE Manager proxy servers for comprehensive Linux lifecycle management. As part of the migration process, SUSE Manager builds a tailored image with the requested packages and features. These operating system images may include SUSE Linux Enterprise Server subscriptions with 24x7 Priority Support, a disaster-recovery tool, the SUSE Manager client and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applications with the SUSE Linux Enterprise High Availability Extension.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Manager eventually helped Daimler AG to successfully migrate a large proportion of its mission-critical workloads from proprietary UNIX platforms to Linux. The company has cut the number of UNIX instances by 40 percent, as it moves crucial applications to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
"The success of the transition to the SUSE platform is reflected in the growth of the company’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server landscape. In the last few years, the number of Linux instances has increased by a factor of four. This considerable expansion demonstrates both the successful ongoing project to migrate UNIX applications to Linux and the organic growth in the company’s web applications where SUSE Linux Enterprise Server has become the preferred platform."
[You can download the full PDF report here]
Ars is reporting that, OpenOffice might be shutting down its operations soon. For long, OpenOffice reigned as the premier Office suite, giving the open-source community a robust alternative to Microsoft Office.

OpenOffice could shutdown operations soon, reports say

OpenOffice was Linux's showcase app for long. It started its journey as an open-sourced version of the StarOffice, which Sun Microsystems acquired in 1999 for a whopping US$59.5 million. Apparently, Sun bought it for internal use as it was costlier to license Microsoft Office for its entire staff. 

Sun open-sourced the software in July 2000 and pitched it as an "open" alternative to Microsoft Office. Over the years, OpenOffice became a massively popular Office suite which found its way into many Linux distros as the default choice. It even achieved 14% penetration in the large enterprise market by 2004. OpenOffice played an important part in attracting new users to Linux. 

But everything changed in 2010 when Sun Microsystems was acquired by Oracle. Though Oracle 'reiterated' its commitment for the continued development of OpenOffice, it pretty much abandoned the project in practice. Not much long after, majority of outside contributors left and formed The Document Foundation. They released the OpenOffice fork named LibreOffice in Jan 2011, which become widely successful. As many speculated before the acquisition, Oracle completely stopped OpenOffice development in April 2011 and fired the development team. Oracle contributed the trademarks and Oracle-owned code to the Apache Software Foundation for re-licensing under Apache License. This formed the basis for Apache OpenOffice project which we see today.

End of the Road for Apache OpenOffice? Not so Fast

The speculation started when a thread titled "What would OpenOffice retirement involve?" was started by Dennis Hamilton, vice president of Apache OpenOffice, in openoffice-dev mailing list.

"It is my considered opinion that there is no ready supply of developers who have the capacity, capability, and will to supplement the roughly half-dozen volunteers holding the project together," Hamilton wrote. No decisions have been made yet, but Project heads are particularly worried about their ability to fix security problems. And hence the Project's 'retirement remains a serious possibility'. Read the complete story at arstechnica.

We have discussed Vivaldi before. It's a feature packed and very power-user friendly web browser for Windows, Mac and Linux. And from our limited experience, the browser seems pretty darn fast too.

vivaldi for linux

Vivaldi 1.3 Released

Living up to its tagline "the most customisable web browser", the new update brings a whole host of new features that enhances Vivaldi's customisability. The new version comes with powerful themeing abilities for example. In our earlier review of Vivaldi web browser, we did complain about the slightly overdone color schemes and such. The new changes give you powers to tweak its looks the way you want. I especially liked the new dark themes.

vivaldi browser new release

Mouse gestures is perhaps one of my favourite feature in Vivaldi, even though I always prefer keyboard shortcuts. There are more than 90  browser actions that can be performed with mouse gestures now.

Also in this release, the developers have addressed some of Linux platform specific issues, which means that "tab hibernation now works as it should, and some proprietary media embedded in HTML5 content can now be enjoyed in Vivaldi on Linux without problems." 

There are other improvements on the Privacy front too with the added ability to turn off WebRTC. Overall, I'm really impressed with Vivaldi's improvements on the performance front. It is definitely faster and more responsive than before, and without any compromises on functionality. Features like 'Tab Stacks' work just as good. Both 32 and 64 bit DEB/RPM packages are available (see link below). Share your thoughts on Vivaldi. Thanks for reading.

I'm not really happy with my laptop's battery performance, and hence the need for reliable battery indicator apps. From simple widgets to full-fledged apps, there are quite a few to choose from. 'Battery Monitor' is the latest entrant. Use the following PPA to install Battery Monitor in Ubuntu and other Debian based distros.


Battery Monitor for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

What makes Battery Monitor different from a whole host of similar apps is its clever integration with Ubuntu notifications. It will notify user about charging, discharging, not charging and critically low battery states. Installation is pretty straight forward. Fire up your Terminal and do as following.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:maateen/battery-monitor -y
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install battery-monitor -y

After installation, there are two ways to start Battery Monitor immediately. Either run battery-monitor in your Terminal itself OR hit ALT + F2 and run battery-monitor. I prefer the later. A few more screenshots.




Project homepage. Do share your thoughts.
After long years of neglect, Skype has reaffirmed its commitment towards Linux platform by announcing a brand new Skype client for Linux, and even goes on to release an Alpha version of the same which you can download and install right now. They come in DEB and RPM packages which must cover a vast variety of Linux platforms.


Finally! A New Skype client for Linux

A brand new Skype for Linux client was officially announced few hours ago. The new version of Skype for Linux is a brand new client using WebRTC, although, the just released Alpha version is not a fully functioning Skype client yet. In our experience, the new client definitely features a faster and more responsive Skype UI. Missing features will be added in the newer releases. Further information on Skype for Linux Alpha can be found here.

And there's more! Anyone using a Chromebook or Chrome on Linux can now visit web.skype.com and make one-to-one and group voice calls on top of the messaging features they get today. This again is an alpha version of Skype based on WebRTC and inherits the same features of the Alpha version of the Skype for Linux client. Video calling and calls to landlines and mobiles are coming soon to Chrome browsers in Linux and Chromebooks. This looks like a a sea change in Skype's attitude towards Linux platform. A welcome change I must say. Following download options are available right now. Do share your thoughts.
Mozilla releases the first nightly builds of its next generation web rendering engine, code-named Servo. This is the first technical demonstration of Mozilla's much awaited high-performance, next-gen web-browser engine being developed for application and embedded use. The first nightly builds also come with a very basic HTML based browser UI so that you can experience the new Servo engine first hand.

servo mozilla web browser engine

Mozilla's New Servo Browser Engine
Being developed at Mozilla Research, Servo engine is also being ported to Android and ARM processors by Samsung. The project "seeks to create a highly parallel environment, in which many components (such as rendering, layout, HTML parsing, image decoding, etc.) are handled by fine-grained, isolated tasks." Source code for the project is written in Rust programming language. Also according to wikipedia, Servo is named after Tom Servo, a robot from a 1980s television show, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Downloadable snapshots of Servo available here (for Mac OS X and Linux only for now). These pre-built nightly snapshots are not anywhere near ready for regular use yet though. Happy testing.


Ubuntu 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus" is released. As with all LTS (long-term support) releases, this one is expected to be the most stable and reliable of them all. But we will find more about that in the review later. Let's discuss the top apps you could install after downloading and installing the latest Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.
top apps for ubuntu 16.04

10 Ubuntu Apps You Must Try after installing 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus" 

The apps you use in your desktop vary from user to user. So take this list with a pinch of salt. I have tried to make it as broad based as possible, but they are still very much based on my use-case and might be biased. Let's take a look at the apps that I use the most, my personal favourites for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

My Favourite Ubuntu Apps for 16.04 LTS

unity tweak tool in ubuntu 16.04 LTS

download unity tweak tool

Unity Tweak Tool, in my opinion, is an absolute must-have for new and experienced users alike. The new updated Unity Tweak Tool brings in a lot of new features including the ability to move the Unity launcher to the bottom. You can read more on that here. The latest version is downloadable from Ubuntu Software Center.

mpv media player ubuntu

best ubuntu apps

MPV Media Player is brilliant. Ever since I discovered MPV, I've completely stopped using VLC, SMPlayer and the likes for my multimedia needs. MPV keeps its light-weight profile without compromising much on functionality. Still no match for VLC in terms of features though, half of which you will never use anyway.

Google Play Music linux desktop client

GPMDP for Ubuntu: Since I use Google Play Music a lot, GPMDP has become my go-to music streaming app for Ubuntu for a while now. For users looking for a more generic music streamer, try Nuvola. GPMDP can be downloaded from here. See also, our review of GPMDP with installation instructions.

top 10 ubuntu apps

Chrome/Chromium: Who wants Chrome when you have Firefox right? Wrong. I believe Chrome has its advantages too. After all, Chrome is now regarded as the most popular web browser across platforms. Firefox, in my opinion, still lags Chrome in some areas. Inbuilt language translation, for example, has proved very useful to me at least on several occasions. But of course Firefox has all the extensions you'll would ever need. For those still interested in Chrome, the only choice you have to make is between Chromium (the one without Google branding, available in Software Center) and the official Google Chrome for Linux (64-bit only).

steam on linux

Steam: Do you know that the number of Steam titles for Linux is now more than 1500 and counting? The list include major titles such as Left 4 Dead 2, Half Life 1 & 2, Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, Witcher 2, Football Manager, Shank 2, Dota 2, Don't Starve, among others. The biggest complaint people had for Linux was the non-availability of good quality games. Steam's support for Linux platform is surely helping. Download Steam.

best apps for ubuntu 16.04

top ubuntu apps

Youtube-dl: This one is a personal favourite of mine. Youtube-dl is a small commandline based tool that lets you download your favorite videos from the web (supports YouTube and many other popular video streaming sites). If all you require is to download the best quality version of a particular video, open up the Terminal and type "youtube-dl<space><link to the video>". The app is downloadable from Ubuntu Software Center. And if you don't like CLI much, these 5 apps with fancier looks and features might help.

synergy for ubuntu xenial xerus

Synergy lets you share your keyboard and mouse across multiple devices and platforms. And it works like magic. More about Synergy here. Unlike earlier though, Synergy is a paid app now, costing $10 for a lifetime license. Strongly recommend Synergy for those running multiple machines simultaneously. BUY.

top ubuntu apps xenial

Synapse: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and its default Unity launcher is impressive, but Synapse is just faster. I mostly use Synapse nowadays, but Unity launcher has improved quite a bit over the years. The difference in responsiveness is not as much pronounced as it used to be. It's a matter of personal preference now.

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:synapse-core/testing
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install synapse

After executing the above commands in the Terminal, launch Synapse from the default Ubuntu launcher and it will reside in your system-tray afterwards. Just hit CTRL+Space to launch Synapse.

Shutter: A clever little screenshot tool that can handle some light editing as well. Has proved very useful over the years. Shutter is available within the default repositories. CLICK HERE.

Skype: Doesn't require much introduction, one of the most popular Internet based video and voice call service provider which was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 for quite a lot of money. Even though it works okay, their support for Linux platform has remained poor ever since the acquisition. Updates are too few when compared to other supported platforms. So stay away if you have a choice. Download Skype for Linux.

For more task-specific, professional-grade apps, see our following lists:
[Ubuntu App Store image via FS Icons Ubuntu, and thanks for reading!]

Unity Tweak Tool has remained one of our top recommended apps for newbie Ubuntu users for a while. And they keeps on adding new features and tweaks. Lately, I found out that there is an option within Unity Tweak Tool for moving the default Launcher to the bottom in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

move launcher to the bottom ubuntu 16.04

Unity Tweak Tool Keeps Getting Better

Unity Tweak Tool has a number of cool tweaks up its sleeves for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. And this ability to move the Unity launcher to the bottom is perhaps the most useful. Many people prefer the old school way of docks, in the bottom. And if you have Unity Tweak Tool, its just a click away.

unity tweak tool in ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Like what you see here? If you are using Ubuntu 16,04 LTS, grab the latest Unity Tweak Tool from Ubuntu Software Center. No need for PPAs. Another cool utility is the "minimize on click" ability, which can be easily turned on with Unity Tweak Tool. Download directly from Ubuntu Software Center using the link below.