Ubuntu has touched the lives of many among us in different ways. I can't speak for everyone here and hence I will share a few of my experiences with Ubuntu. For me, Ubuntu was the gateway to Linux and to the whole open source way of thinking. Ubuntu taught me that computers are not all about Windows OS and that there are far better alternatives than the "default" Windows desktop which you have been made to see and learn from a younger age. Lets go back in time and see how Ubuntu evolved over the years to become what it is now - a totally awesome, user-friendly and fast changing Linux based distro for 'human beings'.

A Brief History of Ubuntu
A new version of Ubuntu is released every 6 months like clockwork, and as of Oct 2015, a grand total of 23 stable releases has been delivered. Each release also has a specific code name which are made using an adjective and an animal with the same first letter (e.g. Hardy Heron, Wily Werewolf). We will do a brief overview of each one of them below. A walk back through the history of Ubuntu. Read on.

Ubuntu 4.10 (Warty Warthog)

evolution of Ubuntu

Ubuntu 4.10 codenamed "Warty Warthog" marked the beginning of a new kid in the block, the first and foremost release of Ubuntu by Canonical foundation. This new Linux distro was based on Debian and aimed at giving new users a trouble free experience of Linux. This release also crucially brought the Ubuntu shipit feature where by users could get Ubuntu installation CD's mailed to their homes for free through a simple signup. Shipit was one of those key USPs that made Ubuntu a very popular choice among youngsters in those early days. I think I still have several lying around near my old PC. And who can forget those Ubuntu branded stickers!

Ubuntu 5.04 (Hoary Hedgehog)

Ubuntu History complete

Ubuntu 5.04 codenamed "Hoary Hedgehog" was released on 8 April 2005. From this second release onwards, massive changes started to trickle in. Ubuntu 5.04 added many new features including an update manager, upgrade notifier, readahead and grepmap, suspend, hibernate and standby support, dynamic frequency scaling for processors among many other major improvements. Ubuntu 5.04 was so ahead of its time that it even introduced support for installation from USB devices. 

Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy Badger)

ubuntu history 2015 edition

Ubuntu 5.10 codenamed "Breezy Badger" was released on 12 October 2005, the third stable release of Ubuntu by Canonical. Ubuntu 5.10 added several new features including a graphical bootloader (Usplash), an Add/Remove Applications tool, a menu editor, an easy language selector, crucial logical volume management support, full Hewlett-Packard printer support, OEM installer support among others. More importantly, this release also brought in Launchpad integration for bug reporting and software development.

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS (Dapper Drake)

ubuntu history

Ubuntu 6.06 LTS codenamed "Dapper Drake" was released on 1 June 2006. It was also the first Long Term Support(LTS) release. This was also the only time when the Ubuntu release cycle was slightly pushed forward by 2 months owing to all sorts of delays. Many new features were introduced including having the Live CD and Install CD merged onto one disc, a graphical installer on Live CD, a network manager for easy switching of multiple wired and wireless connections, implementation of Humanlooks theme among other improvements.

Ubuntu 6.10 (Edgy Eft)

walk back through the history of ubuntu

Ubuntu 6.10 codenamed "Edgy Eft" was released on 26 October 2006, Canonical's fifth Ubuntu release. Tomboy, F-Spot became new defaults. Human theme also went through heavy modifications.

Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn)

travel through the history of ubuntu

Ubuntu 7.04 codenamed "Feisty Fawn" was released on 19 April 2007. This release had a very special significance for me. Feisty was my first real Linux experience. I was a complete noob to the whole Linux way of life then and barely installed Ubuntu in my laptop with the help of friends and Ubuntu Forums. And to be frank, the primary reason for me trying out Ubuntu was Compiz and all the bling that came with it. In those clogged XP-Vista days, Compiz was (and it still is in many ways) a breath of fresh air.

Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon)

ubuntu history

Ubuntu 7.10 codenamed "Gutsy Gibbon" released on 18 October 2007. Ubuntu 7.10 introduced Compiz Fusion as a default feature. This seventh release of Ubuntu also marked the introduction of full NTFS support.

Ubuntu 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron)

history of ubuntu

Ubuntu 8.04 codenamed "Hardy Heron" was released on 24 April 2008. This was the second LTS version of Ubuntu. In my opinion, this release had one of the best designed Ubuntu wallpaper as default. Brasero disc burner and transmission bit torrent client were introduced during this release. Controversial Pulse Audio became the new default system sound server. This release also introduced Wubi installer using which you can install Ubuntu inside Windows without repartitioning the disk.

Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex)

ubuntu history revisited

Ubuntu 8.10 codenamed Intrepid Ibex was released on 30 October 2008. It was the ninth Ubuntu release and it was also one of my favorite releases. This release introduced useful Ubuntu Live USB creator application. Guest session functionality was also introduced during Intrepid Ibex release.

Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

ubuntu history

Ubuntu 9.04 "Jaunty Jackalope" was released on 23 April 2009. This release marked the first time that all of Ubuntu's core development moved to the Bazaar distributed revision control system which is designed to make it easier for anyone to contribute to free and open source software projects. Faster boot time was another major achievement of this release.

Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala)

evolution of ubuntu

Ubuntu 9.10 codenamed "Karmic Koala" released on 29 October 2009. From this release onwards, Ubuntu slowly started to shift gears. A slew of changes started to flood Ubuntu. During Ubuntu Karmic's release cycle, Canonical introduced the One Hundred Paper Cuts project, focusing developers to fix minor usability issues. This was a major move and it helped bring a lot of polish for Ubuntu in the latter releases. This release also introduced Ubuntu Software Center.

Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx)

a brief history of ubuntu

Ubuntu 10.04 codenamed "Lucid Lynx" was released on 29 April 2010. Ubuntu 10.04 "Lucid Lynx" is my favorite release to date and it brought about the biggest amount of changes ever. Ubuntu had a complete branding makeover during this release cycle. Even the brown theme was ditched for the first time for a more bright and pleasant looking "Light" inspired theme. Changes Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx went through.

Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat)

ubuntu history

Ubuntu 10.10 codenamed "Maverick Meerkat" was released on 10 October 2010 (10.10.10) at around 10:10 UTC. Close to the heels of Ubuntu Lucid release, Ubuntu Maverick was also packed with new features and improvements. Ubuntu Software Center became one of the applications that received maximum amount of attention. Canonical's attention to detail started showing up big time during Ubuntu 10.10 release cycle.

Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal)

11 years of ubuntu history

Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal" was perhaps *the* most controversial Ubuntu release ever. Canonical introduced Unity shell with Ubuntu 11.04 which created quite a furore among its vast user base. Unity was Ubuntu's answer to GNOME 3.0's GNOME Shell desktop, though Ubuntu 11.04 was still based on previous GNOME 2.x.

Reactions from users was not really what Canonical would have hoped for. Unity was far less customisable when compared to earlier versions and that was simply unacceptable to many long-term Ubuntu users.

Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)

history of ubuntu

Ubuntu 11.10 codenamed "Oneiric Ocelot" was the first GNOME 3.0 based Ubuntu release. Oneiric did not brought in sweeping changes like its predecessor did. But it does brought in a lot of polish to the controversial Unity UI. LightDM replaced GDM as Ubuntu's new default login screen. Classic Gnome Desktop was completely ditched in favor of Unity 2D during this release cycle. A quick screenshot tour of Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin)

ubuntu history

Quicklists was introduced as a default feature for the very first time. Apart from the usual three Unity lenses (Applications, Files and Music), there is an additional Video lens too which lets you select and play videos from a variety of sources ranging from your local collection to YouTube Movies, BBC iPlayer and TED Talks to name a few. HUD became fully operational. Default launcher behavior is set to "always visible" instead of "dodge windows". Rhythmbox is back again replacing Banshee as the default music player. Changes in Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

Ubuntu 12.10 (Quanty Quetzal)

ubuntu history

Like most previous *.10 releases, Ubuntu 12.10 became the testing ground for a barrage of new features. We listed a grand total of 23 improvements/changes in Ubuntu 12.10, which is pretty staggering at any count. Improvements to LightDM based login screen, remote login facility, Unity Dash price ribbons, Local Apps filter, Launcher improvements, a new dedicated Ubuntu One Music app, and more privacy with the introduction of ON/OFF switch for online search results withing Unity Dash. Ubuntu 12.10 had its share of controversies also. For example, the introduction of Amazon shopping lens as default riled up many.

Ubuntu 13.04 (Raring Ringtail)

Though Unity was improved leaps and bounds by now, it lacked the polishness and finesse it deserved. With the help of recently joined designer known for his gorgeous works including Faenza theme, Ubuntu 13.04 look and feel got some much needed attention. The new shutdown menu and core app icons were a class apart. The new "spinning" Unity dash icon and Software Updater icon set benchmarks in branding. Also, Wubi installer was dropped during this release owing to compatibility issues with Windows 8. And more importantly, it was decided that non-LTS Ubuntu releases will see their support periods halved (9 months instead of 18) from Ubuntu 13.04 onwards. Go through the list of visual changes in Ubuntu 13.04.

Ubuntu 13.10 (Saucy Salamander)

history of ubuntu

With Unity maturing, updates became more minor in nature. There were talks about replacing Firefox with Chromium as default web browser for Ubuntu, but it never materialised. There were also talks about replacing aging X11 with XMir display server and then go on to completely replace X session by Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. But XMir still remains a work in progress.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr)

ubuntu complete history

Unity 7 was really starting to feel more "middle-aged" with every passing release. More incremental updates than sweeping changes showed signs of maturity. But even then, the ability to turn off the global menu and the arrival of Local Integrated Menus were welcome additions. Click to Minimize became available through a CCSM update. X11 was retained and XMir adoption pushed even further. Ubuntu 14.04 LTS was a largely uneventful LTS release, which can be a good thing in my opinion. Everything just worked.

Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn)

11 years of ubuntu history

Ubuntu 14.10 was supposed to be rock solid released release with incremental updates. And it was, for many. But for me, this one was a pretty eventful release. Weirdly, I faced a lot of teething issues with Ubuntu 14.10 so much that I had to replace Ubuntu with elementary OS as my daily work horse for the first time (not that I'm complaining). Netflix started working out of the box, which was a big positive. This was also the release cycle during which Canonical seriously devoted resources into its mobile platform and work on Unity 8 was acquiring some serious momentum. Here's our compilation of things to do after installing Ubuntu 14.10.

Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet)

ubuntu history revisited

With the arrival of Ubuntu 15.04, things were back to normal for me. Ubuntu was working just as good as ever, thanks to "Vivid Vervet". This was also the release when Upstart was finally dropped in favour of systemd. There were also improvements to Intel Haswell and AMD Radeon graphics performance. Visual changes? Not so much. Oh and don't forget to read our top things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04 compilation.

Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf)

history of ubuntu desktop

Ubuntu 15.10 was released just yesterday without much fanfare. With works on Unity 8 improving at a rapid pace, Canonical is finding less and less reasons to spend time on adding features and functionalities on Unity 7 based Ubuntu 15.10 "Wily Werewolf". Ubuntu Touch OS meant for mobile platforms got a lot of attention, yet again, which is now capable of receiving instant over the air updates. Mir display server was also supposed to be there as default, but its release has been pushed further. Visually, the biggest change is the removal of disappearing window edge scrollbars (something I really liked) in favour of the upstream GNOME scrollbars. Underneath, there are not much changes, except for the updated Kernel. Very stable and reliable OS though, have been using it since the arrival of first beta. Download here.

Next in Line: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus"

This could turn out to be the most important Ubuntu release since the arrival of Unity, if not forever. To be released on 21 April 2016, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is expected to include Unity 8 running natively on Mir. I can't wait!

[Thanks to Wikipedia for screenshots of earlier versions of Ubuntu. And thank you for reading.]

As the name indicates, Folder Color lets you better organize your folders by assigning colors. App provides a rather simple functionality, but have been proving quite useful to me.

folder color for ubuntu

Add some color to your Folders!

The simplest of apps can have profound impact on your daily routine. Folder Color is one such application. Color code your folders so that you can easily find/differentiate the important stuff when you need it. Works great with Nautilus, Nemo and Caja File Browser (official file manager for the MATE desktop). Supports major distros such as Ubuntu, Debian, Mint, openSUSE, Arch etc. Installation and usage is pretty straight forward. Take a look:
Click here to download and install Folder Color from Ubuntu Software Center (Ubuntu 15.04 & 15.10)
OR ELSE: Those using older versions of Ubuntu (prior to Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet), please use the following PPA (copy-paste the following commands in Terminal).

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:costales/folder-color
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install folder-color
nautilus -q

The last command will restart Nautilus and voila! Folder-Color is up and ready to go. Open your file browser and right-click on any folder. You will find Folder's Color entry with a lot of options to choose from. If the Folder's Color option does not appear immediately, restart you file-browser using nautilus -q command and then try again. Those who are using other distros and file-browsers, more download options are available. HERE

As far as am average Linux user is concerned, the launch of Steam for Linux was perhaps the most critical event happened in the last decade. Speculations started as early as in 2010 when it came to know that Valve is actively looking for people who can port Windows games to Linux. After many ups and downs, Steam for Linux was finally confirmed in 2012 and they even went on to launch a limited access beta in November that year itself. But not even the most optimist among us expected such a tremendous turn around for Linux gaming.

steam on linux

1,500 Linux Titles: Steam on Linux Breaks New Ground

Most hardcore Linux users had a Windows partition just to meet their gaming needs. But things were starting to change. The floodgates were opened when the Steam client for Linux came out of beta in 2013. Barrage of major gaming titles started pouring in so much that Steam client is a must have app now if you are a Linux user (available in Ubuntu Software Center). Left 4 Dead 2, Half Life 1 & 2, Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, XCOM, Witcher 2, Football Manager 2014, Shank 2, Dota 2, Don't Starve, the list goes on.  

Not only that. Valve also builds and runs all of its source code, animation and assets on Linux - a typical setup for companies in the gaming industry, says Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director of Valve inc., while speaking at LinuxCon 2013. "Valve became convinced that Linux is the future of gaming," he added.

According to a report by Phoronix, Valve has been adding as much as 100 Linux titles per month throughout the last several months. The total number of games for Linux platform swelled to a whopping 1,500 now from 1000 in February 2015. A significant number even when compared to other supported platforms. To put this in context, number of supported titles for Windows is 6,464 and OSX is 2,323 respectively. New games continue to be ported to Linux and offered via Steam almost daily.

But there is still room for improvement, the report adds. Even though there has been a number of exciting titles like DiRT Showdown, Company of Heroes 2, Metro 2033 etc., many of the games ported over to Linux have been small, indie-type games. According to Valve, the five most popular Linux games right now include Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, ARK: Survival Evolved, Team Fortress 2, and Dota 2. 

[Image source: Linux Gamecast, Full report: Phoronix]

After BQ Aquaris and Meizu MX4, a new manufacturer is getting ready to launch their first ever Ubuntu hardware. This time, its a Tablet with top of the line specs. And the startup in question is MJ Technology LLC.

ubuntu tablet

Open source became part of state policy in India recently. French Armed Forces ditched many thousands of Windows PCs for Ubuntu and used FOSS solutions to cut costs. So did UK Government. And speaking of Italy, Turin recently became the first Italian city to adopt Ubuntu and LibreOffice saving millions of Euros in licensing and other costs involved with proprietary solutions. The momentum is clearly building in favor of FOSS alternatives. And Italian Military becomes the latest to join the Open Source bandwagon.

Italian Army ditches Microsoft, adopts LibreOffice

Italian Armed Forces Adopts LibreOffice and Open Document Format (ODF)

Italian Military joins the latest list of LibreOffice and ODF adopters. The Ministry of Defense will over the next year-and-a-half install this suite of office productivity tools on some 150,000 PC workstations - making it Europe’s second largest LibreOffice implementation, according to Open Source observatory.

Italian Agency for the Digitization of the Public Sector (AGID) congratulated the Ministry of Defence, and hoped that other organizations will follow through. The switch was announced on 15 September by the LibreItalia Association, an NGO working to promote FOSS solutions in Italy. The NGO will help the ministry to ready trainers in different parts of the military, and the Ministry is to develop a series of online courses to help with the switch to LibreOffice. The material is to be made public using a Creative Commons licence.

The switch to LibreOffice is a consequence of a June 2012 law which says that free and open source should be the default option for the country’s public administrations, according to LibreItalia. The project is also one of Europe’s largest. In a world where the mightiest of corporations and even the International Space Station adopting Linux and FOSS, this is hardly surprising. (further reading, image source)

I don't even remember the last time when I used KDE. The versions after KDE 3.x were not really my cup of tea. But when Sean mailed me some of his new works, I just had to try KDE one more time. Sean (half-left) is a renowned designer and customization guru who for years have been producing some of the greatest themes and artwork for Linux desktop. And as always, his latest creations are just as good as ever. 3 gorgeous Plasma 5 themes folks.

New KDE Plasma 5 Themes

KDE Plasma 5 First Impressions
First and foremost, a few things about the latest KDE. So I installed Kubuntu 15.04 on my USB yesterday and have been using it ever since. I got to tell you, KDE over the years has improved by leaps and bounds. Initial KDE Plasma versions received a lot of flak for being buggy and unreliable, especially the Kubuntu implementation of the same. Not anymore. Plasma 5 seems robust, well-designed and packed to the brim with features.

kubuntu plasma 5 themes

I especially liked the new launcher. It is so damn fast! The overall design feels very mature and clean. And the notifications implementation is perhaps the best Linux has to offer in this space. Another highlight was Dolphin file browser, so full of features, yet very light and really really fast. This does deserve a detailed review. Stay tuned.

Gorgeous KDE Plasma 5 Themes by Half-left

kubuntu plasma 5 themes
new plasma 5 themes
kubuntu plasma 5 themes
kde plasma 5 themes
Download and installations instruction for plasma 5 themes are provided in each of the above links. If you want to experience KDE Plasma 5 first hand, get Kubuntu 15.04.

Built on top on Raspberry Pi, Mycroft intends to become your personal home Artificial Intelligence platform that can play your media, control lighting, lock your door and can control pretty much any IoT (Internet of Things) capable device you have in your home. Mycroft's Kickstarter campaign has been massively successful and has already raised some $110,353 beating its target of $99,000.

mycroft opensource artificial intelligence for home

Mycroft: An Open Source, Open Hardware Artificial Intelligence For Everyone
Mycroft uses natural language to control Internet of Things. Mycroft intends to take away AI from the domain of few private players into the hands of people. Mycroft is the world's first open source, open hardware home A.I. platform and is built on top of Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino. Mycroft uses natural language processing to respond to your voice (similar to Google Now, Siri and Cortana, but with more fucntionalities). It makes online services like YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify and others available to you instantly.

As you can see, it isn't just for streaming devices. Mycroft has an integrated high quality speaker.  It can play music directly. Mycroft also integrates with your smart devices and allows you to control the Internet of Things. Connect Mycroft to your SmartThings hub, WeMo devices or Phillips Hue lights and command your devices with the sound of your voice. Turn on lights, lock doors, make coffee, water plants and feed pets. Whatever it is - If it is connected to the internet - Mycroft can control it. And that's the bottom line.

More importantly, Mycroft is an open source and open hardware platform. It allows developers, makers and tinkerers to explore their own ideas. Mycroft has also decided to partner with Canonical and will be using Snappy Core Ubuntu as the OS of choice. That makes the deal even sweeter. Here's Mycroft on Kickstarter. Mycroft is priced at only $129 per unit. But as an early adopter, you can get one at $99 apiece.

From the most consumer focused distros like Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint or elementary OS to the more obscure, minimal and enterprise focused ones such as Slackware, Arch Linux or RHEL, I thought I've seen them all. Couldn't have been any further from the truth. Linux eco-system is very diverse. There's one for everyone. Let's discuss the weird and wacky world of niche Linux distros that represents the true diversity of open platforms.

strangest linux distros

Puppy Linux: An operating system which is about 1/10th the size of an average DVD quality movie rip, that's Puppy Linux for you. The OS is just 100 MB in size! And it can run from RAM making it unusually fast even in older PCs. You can even remove the boot medium after the operating system has started! Can it get any better than that? System requirements are bare minimum, most hardware are automatically detected, and it comes loaded with software catering to your basic needs. Experience Puppy Linux.

suicide linux

Suicide Linux: Did the name scare you? Well it should. 'Any time - any time - you type any remotely incorrect command, the interpreter creatively resolves it into rm -rf / and wipes your hard drive'. Simple as that. I really want to know the ones who are confident enough to risk their production machines with Suicide Linux. Warning: DO NOT try this on production machines! The whole thing is available in a neat DEB package if you're interested.

top 10 strangest linux distros

PapyrOS: "Strange" in a good way. PapyrOS is trying to adapt the material design language of Android into their brand new Linux distribution. Though the project is in early stages, it already looks very promising. The project page says the OS is 80% complete and one can expect the first Alpha release anytime soon. We did a small write up on PapyrOS when it was announced and by the looks of it, PapyrOS might even become a trend-setter of sorts. Follow the project on Google+ and contribute via BountySource if you're interested.

10 most unique linux distros

Qubes OSQubes is an open-source operating system designed to provide strong security using a Security by Compartmentalization approach. The assumption is that there can be no perfect, bug-free desktop environment. And by implementing a 'Security by Isolation' approach, Qubes Linux intends to remedy that. Qubes is based on Xen, the X Window System, and Linux, and can run most Linux applications and supports most Linux drivers. Qubes was selected as a finalist of Access Innovation Prize 2014 for Endpoint Security Solution.

top10 linux distros

Ubuntu Satanic EditionUbuntu SE is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. "It brings together the best of free software and free metal music" in one comprehensive package consisting of themes, wallpapers, and even some heavy-metal music sourced from talented new artists. Though the project doesn't look actively developed anymore, Ubuntu Satanic Edition is strange in every sense of that word. Ubuntu SE (Slightly NSFW).

10 strange linux distros

Tiny Core Linux: Puppy Linux not small enough? Try this. Tiny Core Linux is a 12 MB graphical Linux desktop! Yep, you read it right. One major caveat: It is not a complete desktop nor is all hardware completely supported. It represents only the core needed to boot into a very minimal X desktop typically with wired internet access. There is even a version without the GUI called Micro Core Linux which is just 9MB in size. Tiny Core Linux folks.

top 10 unique and special linux distros

NixOS: A very experienced-user focused Linux distribution with a unique approach to package and configuration management. In other distributions, actions such as upgrades can be dangerous. Upgrading a package can cause other packages to break, upgrading an entire system is much less reliable than reinstalling from scratch. And top of all that you can't safely test what the results of a configuration change will be, there's no "Undo" so to speak. In NixOS, the entire operating system is built by the Nix package manager from a description in a purely functional build language. This means that building a new configuration cannot overwrite previous configurations. Most of the other features follow this pattern. Nix stores all packages in isolation from each other. More about NixOS.

strangest linux distros

GoboLinux: This is another very unique Linux distro. What makes GoboLinux so different from the rest is its unique re-arrangement of the filesystem. It has its own subdirectory tree, where all of its files and programs are stored. GoboLinux does not have a package database because the filesystem is its database. In some ways, this sort of arrangement is similar to that seen in OS X. Get GoboLinux.

strangest linux distros

Hannah Montana Linux: Here is a Linux distro based on Kubuntu with a Hannah Montana themed boot screen, KDM, icon set, ksplash, plasma, color scheme, and wallpapers (I'm so sorry). Link. Project not active anymore.

RLSD LinuxAn extremely minimalistic, small, lightweight and security-hardened, text-based operating system built on Linux. "It's a unique distribution that provides a selection of console applications and home-grown security features which might appeal to hackers," developers claim. RLSD Linux.

Did we miss anything even stranger? Let us know.
Our list of 5 best video editors garnered much support from you readers, so much so that it is still trending as one of the most read article we've ever published. Now, we've a powerful new candidate which would easily make it into that list. Shotcut is a relatively new, free and open source, cross-platform video editor for Linux.

shotcut video editor linux

Shotcut Video Editor for Linux with 4K Support
From its humble beginnings several years ago, Shotcut is one of those apps that just kept on getting better with each new release, the latest version being 15.07 (denoting the month and year of the release). The biggest addition to Shotcut video editor for this new version is full 4K UHD support.
As the developer notes, "Shotcut has been able to do 4K for a while now if you made a custom video mode or correctly use automatic mode. However, there were a few things we wanted to do before making it official. First, you really need to be using a 64-bit build, and we delivered that for Windows in the previous release. For this release, we added 4K video modes to the Settings menu and extended our support for Blackmagic Design 4K SDI & HDMI devices".
Shotcut 15.07 also comes with 5 new audio and video filters. These new 'old film' video effects can be considered as toy filters. "The film grain effect does not try to emulate any real film stock, and the Technocolor filter does not try to faithfully reproduce the 20th century Technicolor processes. It merely intends to approximate the look.", writes Dan Dennedy in his blog post. The article goes on to further discuss about the other prominent changes & improvements to Shotcut in this new release. Full feature list can be found here.

Also, Shotcut video editor is multi-platform. Different packages for Linux, Windows and OS X are available. For Linux, officially supported distros include Mint 12+, Ubuntu 12.04+, Debian 7+, Fedora 15+, openSUSE 12+, Arch and Manjaro Linux. Downloads here. [thanks to my good friend and reader aashiks for tipping us]

India joins a new breed of nations that have come openly supporting open source software solutions as part of the declared state policy. The Government of India has adopted a comprehensive and supportive open source policy building on their earlier efforts to adopt open standards for procurement.

india adopts open source policy

India's Massive "Digital India" Program And The Role of Open Solutions
Government of India (GoI) is implementing a Digital India program as an umbrella program to 'prepare India for a knowledge based transformation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy'. This require a major overhaul of hardware and software infrastructure. Many firms have already committed to the tune of US$ 71 billion towards the initiative. But to ensure efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services at affordable costs, open source solutions are as important.
"Organizations worldwide have adopted innovative alternative solutions in order to optimise costs by exploring avenues of “Open Source Software”. GoI has also been promoting the use of open source technologies in the eGovernance domain within the country to leverage economic & strategic beneifts." "Government of India shall endeavour to adopt Open Source Software in all e-Governance systems as a preferred option in comparison to Closed Source Software (CSS)."
The policy document titled "Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India" put forwaded by its Ministry of Communication & Information Technology has 3 key objectives:
  • To provide a policy framework for rapid and effective adoption of OSS
  • To ensure strategic control in e-Governance applications and systems from a long-term perspective.
  • To reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of projects.
A perfect summation of benefits I must admit. As stated in the document, it is not just about the cost-advantage. Open Source software solutions brings about qualities such as longevity and sustainability which can be very critical for massive initiatives such as Digital India. The government is currently working on creating an implementation mechanism for Open Source software that can be then replicated across the country.

Further reading at opensource.com. Full policy document PDF can be found here (PDF). Also read how Turin saved millions of Euros by becoming the first Italian city to adopt Ubuntu and Open Office.

The most popular platform among C/C++ developers is Linux, according to a survey by Jetbrains, a company that makes a wide range of tools for developers. Linux commands a whopping 44 percent market share while Microsoft's Windows and Apple's iOS platforms control 39 and 17 percent market shares respectively.

Linux market share among C++ Devs

Linux Preferred Platform Among C and C++ Developers, Says Survey
It is rather surprising to know that the platform least used by regular users is the most preferred platform among developers. May be these are the first signs of a major shift in OS usage patterns among the masses. The developers are slowly warming up to the advantages of Linux as a development platform. Some of the things that makes Linux generally superior to its compatriots is discussed here: Why is Linux faster than Windows?

Coming back to the survey, there are about 4.4 million C++ devs and 1.9 million C devs in the world. While C++ is among the top 5 preferred programming languages among developers, C is on par with Ruby grabbing the 8th most popular spot. C++ is relatively more popular than other languages and technologies in countries such as Russia, Germany, Finland, France, Hungary, Singapore, Finland, Israel and Czech Republic. 

Also according to the survey, C++ is most used in industries such as Finance and Banking. More interesting statistics and detailed infographic can be found here.
I know what you might be thinking. Yes, Android is Linux. But for the lack of a better word, we will define the conventional Linux desktops like Ubuntu as Linux here. Native Android apps doesn't run on Linux desktops. And Android platform is buzzling with great apps and games. If Android is indeed based on Linux, why can't Linux desktops run at least some of those apps natively? Enter Project Shashlik.

KDE Shashlik Project

KDE's Shashlik Project Intends to Bring Android Apps to Linux
Technically speaking, Linux forms just the Kernel, the heart of the operating system. When the Linux kernel combine with the GNU libraries and services, it becomes the complete operating system (GNU/Linux naming controversy arises from this reality). And that's how Android project is different.

Although Android uses Linux as its kernel, it comprises of an entirely different set of libraries and what-not to complete their made-for-mobile-devices operating system. This also means that, there is no way to run Android apps within conventional Linux OSes like Ubuntu or Fedora without using virtual machines and such.

KDE's Shashlik Project intends to change all that. Shashlik is a new application launcher that allows you to run Android apps on a GNU/Linux operating system. Basically, it is a 'collection of Android systems and frameworks as minimal as possible, built to run on a standard, modern Linux systems, using as much of the standard system as possible, and created to be Free/Libre from its inception. Shashlik is built to integrate into your existing system, whether it be a desktop, laptop, tablet.' This is good news especially for developers.

Shashlik Project is still in its infancy and the source is already available on GitHub. In reality though, smartphone apps may not be an ideal fit for regular desktops. But think about this. Ubuntu Touch OS for smartphones is already pretty robust and Shashlik will be able to bring the depth of Google's apps-store to it in theory. That could be a game changing development if it indeed works as good as everyone is hoping for. The Project was introduced to the public by its lead developer Dan Leinir Turthra Jensen during the annual KDE summit on 26th of July 2015.
Have you tried watching YouTube in Firefox lately? Because you can't anymore, at least by default. Firefox disabled Adobe Flash plugin for its oft criticized security holes which are only getting worse by day. Now, System76 joins the bandwagon. Adobe Flash is slowly but surely fading away.

System76 removes Adobe Flash

System76 removes Adobe Flash from all its Products
Back in the day, Steve Jobs received a lot of flak for not including Flash in his flagship product, the iPhone. But in 2015, tables have turned. Adobe Flash is no more the Internet's darling. In fact, it has become that ugly product that nobody wants to ship, yet they have to for reasons we all know. But that is changing.

"In 2007, System76 was granted a license from Adobe to pre-install Flash on all our laptops and desktops. Back then, Flash was the only way to unlock all the wonders of the Internet. In terms of making a great first impression, especially those new to Ubuntu, this was an important detail," the company said in a blog post the other day.

"So from 2007 till today, we’ve pre-installed Flash in our golden images. But starting tomorrow, we wont be," they added. Tomorrow as in July 15th, 2015. Slowly but surely, the story of Adobe Flash is coming to its glorious end. If you're using Ubuntu or its derivatives, you might want to try removing Flash from your computer and see for yourself how good the Internet works without Flash already. Execute this command in Terminal.
sudo apt-get purge flashplugin-installer
In today's Internet, Flash is fast becoming a liability. You will see that for yourself once you remove it. But if you didn't liked the result, you can always reinstall the flashplugin for Ubuntu.
sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer
However, if you truly need Flash, you’ll probably be safest using Google Chrome, which includes an embedded Flash implementation that is sandboxed in a way that should mitigate the inevitable Flash zero-days to come. But still not a fool-proof solution since one Flash zero-day has already manged to punch through the sandbox, so it’s still prudent to avoid Flash altogether. So what do you think? Are you ready for a Flash-free Internet? Let us know.
Ubuntu 15.04 codenamed "Vivid Vervet" is the 22nd major Ubuntu release. Even though not as minor an iteration like Ubuntu 14.10, Vivid Vervet still doesn't bring any sweeping changes to the platform. This is to be expected since Unity 8 and Mir display server is still some time away. And no, Unity 8 will not become a default until at least Ubuntu 16.04 LTS. At the current rate though, even that is being overly optimistic.

top things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04

Ubuntu 15.04: The good old Ubuntu is back!
My favorite Ubuntu versions has almost always has been the LTS releases. Ubuntu 12.04 could be termed as my favorite Ubuntu to date, and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS could be a close second. But I've never faced much issues with any of the Ubuntu releases, except for Ubuntu 14.10, which was just beyond messed up. Things were so bad that I had to switch from Ubuntu to Freya almost permanently. And I have nothing but love for that incredibly clean and simple OS. Some of the reasons why I love elementary Freya so much.

But Ubuntu 15.04 turned things around for me. Everything seems to work just as good as it has always been. It's a shame that I was not able to find out the real cause for all the trouble I had with Ubuntu 14.10. But hey, that's the beauty of Linux. If you don't like an OS, you have 100 other equally good distros waiting to be tested.

Disclaimer: Even though I have made utmost care not to make any mistakes here, please make sure you double-check everything before executing. As they say, you don't trust a random code or command from the web. The same applies here. And most of this article is heavily influenced from our earlier posts on similar topics. So lend a careful eye while making critical changes to your brand new OS. You've been warned.

First things first: Downloading Codecs package during Installation
  • You can install restricted codecs package (which include Adobe Flash, MP3 codecs and such) during installation of OS itself. See below.
15 things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04
  • Notice the arrows pointing to the boxes in the screenshot above. If you tick both of them during the Ubuntu installation process (make sure you are connected to the internet before doing so), restricted extras package will be installed automatically and you will be able to play mp3's, avi's, mp4's etc. and watch flash videos (YouTube videos for example) right after Ubuntu installation is done with.
  • But there is a catch. If you have a slow internet connection (which is very rare these days), ticking the boxes shown in the screenshot above will unnecessarily lengthen the installation process. I for one prefer to do all that after installing Ubuntu. If you are like me, the next two steps are for you.
Update Repositories
  • After you install brand new Ubuntu 15.04, the first thing you need to do is to update repositories and make sure you have the latest updates installed.
top things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04
  • Search for Software Updater in Unity Dash and launch the Software Updater app. It will automatically check for updates available. Install the updates.
top things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04
  • OR you could simply use the command line method. Open Terminal (Ubuntu 15.04 Keyboard Shortcut: Ctrl + Alt + T) and copy-paste the following command into Terminal.
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
  • Enter your password when asked and you're done. Your new Ubuntu 15.04 'Vivid Vervet' has been successfully updated and upgraded. 
Install Ubuntu Restricted Extras
  • Install the "ubuntu-restricted-extras" package. This will enable your Ubuntu to play popular file formats like mp3, avi, flash videos etc. CLICK HERE (to install directly from Ubuntu Software Center) OR simply copy-paste the following command into Terminal to install the package (You need not do this if you have ticked the 'right' boxes before).
sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras
  • Done. [Note: The package contains some proprietary fonts and such which will not be downloaded while OS installation. Hence, you might still want to install Ubuntu Restricted Extras package even though you ticked those boxes before.]
Check for Availability of Proprietary Hardware Drivers

top 15 things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04
  • As in previous releases, Ubuntu 15.04 has 'Additional Drivers' functionality inside Software & Updates (previously called Software Sources).
  • In my case, all the hardware drivers including graphics, sound and wireless drivers were enabled automatically. But this may not be the case for everyone.
  • If you are among the not-so-lucky, open Unity dash (Ubuntu 15.04 Keyboard Shortcut: Super key) and search for 'Software & Updates' application.
top things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04
  • Check for additional drivers available and activate the ones you want. In majority of the cases, this will do the trick. If you're not able to get hardware drivers working yet, you'll have to do a fair amount of digging through ubuntuforums and askubuntu.
Enable Workspaces for Ubuntu 15.04

enable Workspaces for Ubuntu 15.04
  • Back in 2007, one of the first "feature" that attracted me to Ubuntu was the multiple workspaces thing and all the cool animations you could do with it. I know, it's kind of silly but workspaces are still very important to me. My work environment feels very claustrophobic otherwise. 
  • Even when market leaders like Microsoft is thinking about bringing multiple workspaces feature to its upcoming Windows 10 OS (or so I heard), Ubuntu 15.04 by default decides to ditch workspaces. I find it kind of amusing. May be Canonical received a different feedback from its users. Anyway, you can easily re-enable it by going to System Settings - Apperance window (see screenshot above for reference). 
Hate two-finger scrolling? This will help.

top things to do after installing Ubuntu 15.04
  • Two-finger scrolling is enabled by default. But you know what, I kind of like it now. But still, if you want to change it back to normal scrolling, here is what you need to do. 
  • Launch System Settings and browse to Mouse & Touchpad under Hardware.
  • Unselect Two finger scroll.
Unity Tweak Tool: The insanely good tweaking tool for Ubuntu
  • When it comes to tweaking Unity, there's no better candidate. Even the default Ubuntu Settings app is no match for Unity Tweak Tool.
  • Unity Tweak Tool is available in default Ubuntu 15.04 repositories. 
  • Click Here to install Unity Tweak Tool in Ubuntu 15.04.
  • Unity Tweak Tool has a lot of options to tinker with, about which we will discuss in detail later on in this post.
Enable 'Click to Minimize' feature using Unity Tweak Tool

top things to do after installing Ubuntu vivid vervet
  • You can now click on the apps to minimize it to the launcher, a behavior which should have been default if you ask me. Here's how you do it.
  • Launch Unity Tweak Tool which you've already installed, goto Launcher sub-menu under "Unity". Rest is self-explanatory (refer screenshot above). More details and video
Enable 'Hot Corner' feature in Unity Tweak Tool

ubuntu 15.04 tips and tricks
  • Hotcorners along with multiple-workspaces have been two of favorite features ever since I started using Ubuntu years ago. Enabling hotcorners is a pretty straight-forward affair since you have already installed Unity Tweak Tool.
  • Launch Unity Tweak Tool and goto Hotcorners sub-menu under 'Window Manager'.
Compiz Config Settings Manager, nuff said!
  • CCSM is similar to Unity Tweak Tool, but more advanced, and very specific to Compiz, the default window manager. CCSM may not be as relevant as before, but it still packs the punch. We'll deal with some CCSM specific hacks later on. 
  • CLICK HERE to install CCSM. 
Disable Animations and Fading windows using CCSM

ubuntu 15.04 tips and tricks
  • I am all for eyecandy, but it should not be at the cost of performance or responsiveness.
  • Disabling Animations and Fading windows from CCSM might make your Ubuntu look less attractive. But as far as I can see, it has a significant positive impact on performance. 
Disable Active Blur in CCSM for a faster loading Unity Dash

top things to do Ubuntu 15.04
  • Launch CCSM again, goto Ubuntu Unity Plugin under Desktop.
  • Change Active Blur to Static Blur or No Blur. 
Disable Online Search Results in Unity Dash

ubuntu 15.04 privacy
  • Online search results in Unity dash, sounds like a good idea on paper, but not in the real world. It unnecessarily makes Dash search slower (at least for me). 
  • To disable it, goto System Settings app and find Privacy category. 
Important: Ubuntu 15.04 Privacy 

ubuntu 15.04 privacy on/off switch
  • Ubuntu by default will be recording your activity which is later used to refine searches in Unity and such. You can completely disable this feature by accessing Privacy category within System Settings application. 
  • You can optionally disable recording for a pre-defined set of files only like image, text, video etc. instead of completely disabling recording altogether (my preferred way).
Disable Unnecessary Error Messages from Appearing in Ubuntu 15.04

ubuntu 15.04 tips and tricks
  • If errors like that with titles such as "system program problem detected" or "ubuntu 15.04 has experienced an internal error" are common in your Ubuntu installation, you might want to disable Apport error reporting tool altogether. 
Disable Unnecessary Error Messages from Appearing in Ubuntu 15.04
  • Hit ALT + F2 and run the following command (as in the screenshot above).
gksu gedit /etc/default/apport
  • Change value of "enabled" from 1 to 0 (instructions are provided in the text file itself).
Disable Error Messages from Appearing in Ubuntu
  • Save and exit. Now for changes to take effect, do the following in Terminal.
sudo restart apport
  • OR do a system restart. Both will do. Apport is supposed to be disabled in stable releases and yet I'm finding it enabled in almost all major releases since Ubuntu 12.04. More details about Apport here.
Local Menus or Global Menus? You Decide.

local menus in ubuntu 15.04
  • Global menus were pretty controversial from its early days. Some say it is unnecessary when display size of average desktops/laptops keeps on increasing.
  • Don't worry, Ubuntu 15.04 has got you covered. Goto System Settings - Apperance and select Behavior. Now you can choose between one of the two.
Remove Unwanted Lenses from Unity Dash
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are new to Ubuntu 15.04 and Unity, you might not want to do this. Stay with default settings for the time being and find for yourself if Lenses are useful or not.
  • I have never found video, music or photo lens useful. I know exactly where my files are and I would simply use file browser instead to locate/launch them. Never been a fan of shopping lens either. All I need is a really fast loading Dash, plain and simple.
  • If you're like me, you might want to trade them for a faster responding Unity dash. Copy-paste the following command into Terminal.
sudo apt-get autoremove unity-lens-music unity-lens-photos unity-lens-shopping unity-lens-video
Other Popular Apps to Install:
And don't forget to explore Ubuntu Software Center for your favorite apps and games. Have fun.