Long years ago, we've talked about a Skype alternative called Tox which was still in its early developmental stages. Tox was supposed to become the anti-thesis of Skype by being a fully open-source video and voice chat client that placed user privacy and security at its center. Well, guess what, there are now fully active and well-maintained chat clients that are built on top of Tox protocol. qTox is one of them.

qtox skype replacement for linux

qTox: Free and Open Source Skype Replacement for Linux
Tox is a peer-to-peer instant-messaging and video-calling protocol that offers end-to-end encryption. There are two popular clients built on top of Tox, namely uTox and qTox. Here we will discuss about qTox, the more feature-rich and configurable of the two.

qtox skype alternative ubuntu

The work flow of qTox video chat client is pretty straight forward. You just need to share you unique Tox ID (the one you get after you sign up) with the person you want to chat. Friend requests pop-up in your screen once it is sent and you can either accept or reject it. qTox is fully featured with support for video/voice chat (picture-in-picture mode for video calls), sending/receiving files, screen-sharing etc. By default, video chat is disabled for security reasons and you need to enable it first in qTox-Settings when you want to video chat.

qtox skype alternative

Installing qTox in Ubuntu 16.10:
Just copy-paste the following commands into Terminal one by one (keyboard shortcut: CTRL+ALT+T).

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/antonbatenev:/tox/xUbuntu_16.10/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/qtox.list"
wget -nv http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:antonbatenev:tox/xUbuntu_16.10/Release.key -O Release.key
sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install qtox

The first line adds the repository while the second and third line download the key for authentication. Then you update the repositories and install the app, which is 'qtox' here.

Installing qTox in Ubuntu 16.04:
Installing qTox in Ubuntu 16.04.2 "Xenial Xerus", being the latest LTS release. Same as before, copy-paste the following lines to your Terminal.

sudo sh -c "echo 'deb http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:/antonbatenev:/tox/xUbuntu_16.04/ /' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/qtox.list"
wget -nv http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/home:antonbatenev:tox/xUbuntu_16.04/Release.key -O Release.key
sudo apt-key add - < Release.key
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install qtox

Done! After installing you can quick-launch the app from Ubuntu launcher, just search for 'qTox'. I have installed the app in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 16.10 and Windows 10. The video and voice chat worked across platforms. Tried screen-sharing too with Windows 10, but the experience could have been a lot smoother. But as I understand, qTox is still in active development. So you can expect improvements to happen over time.

qTox is cross-platform and is available on a wide range of OSes. For downloading qTox for your favourite Linux OS (Arch, CentOS, Fedora, openSUSE supported), follow this link. For Windows and OSX installers, see here. qTox is still very much on the bleeding-edge side of things and we strongly recommend adequate testing before using it on production machines. Thank you for reading. Related: Meet the new Skype for Linux Beta.

After long years of inactivity, a new Skype for Linux was released about an year ago. Though the version of Skype released for Linux was in its early alpha and had many critical features missing, it was reassuring to know that Microsoft has not abandoned Skype for Linux platform entirely after acquiring it. Microsoft recently released the beta version of Skype for Linux platform giving a major fillip to many missing features.

new skype for linux ubuntu

New Skype for Linux Beta: What works, what doesn't?

So, the new Skype for Linux beta is here. It is not a finished product yet and has its limitations. But unlike the earlier alpha release, the Skype beta comes loaded with all the basic functionalities one expects from a video/voice chat software. It supports one to one video calls from Linux to other platforms and vice versa. Skype credits is also enabled by which you can make calls to mobiles and landlines.  

Screen sharing though is still tricky. Apparently, as a Linux user, you can view shared screens from other Skype desktop clients (Windows and Mac), but you cannot share your screen with other platforms, which is a major letdown for business users. Deeper integration with Ubuntu's Unity launcher is another plus. For example, Skype beta now shows the number of unread conversations on the Unity launcher. 

The launch of Steam platform for Linux in 2012 was a watershed moment for Linux desktop market. For gamers struggling with their dual boot setups, this was as good as it gets, or so we thought. Not even the biggest optimists amongst us expected such a huge turn around with Valve releasing games at an unprecedented rate (more than 100 games per month) on its Steam for Linux platform since its first release. But Valve is not ready to slowdown with its Linux ambitions as yet. Valve has just opened its SteamVR platform for Linux! Developers will now be able to create Linux content for HTC Vive VR headset and other VR hardware.


SteamVR Support for Linux Launched

Valve has just launched its SteamVR for Linux platform and developers can now start creating content for the same. The program is still in beta, meaning developers must use NVIDIA developer beta driver built on "Vulcan", dubbed as the "next generation OpenGL initiative". As a developer, you are also limited to access only "direct" mode which means you cannot display images on the headset and the display at the same time. There is also limited support for AMD based cards but Intel graphics card isn't supported.
The importance of Linux platform in Valve's scheme of things was pretty evident when Gabe Newell himself clarified that Valve builds and runs all of its source code, animation and assets on Linux. With the latest addition of SteamVR support, Valve is doubling down on its commitment towards its Linux based SteamOS platform. 


One of my laptops started acting weird recently. For some reason the laptop's wifi signal became so weak that it stopped connecting to my home wifi unless the router is very close. The obvious answer was to use my Android Phone's hotspot. But 4G data doesn't come cheap. As I found out later, you can also turn your Android phone into a wifi repeater or wifi extender by pairing Ubuntu and Android via Bluetooth. Here's how you do it.

bluetooth tethering ubuntu to android

Android to Ubuntu Bluetooth Tethering (How to)

  • Make sure Bluetooth is turned ON and visible on both the devices.
  • In Ubuntu, go to Bluetooth settings and hit the '+' button on the bottom to pair your phone.
wifi extender android
  • Select your device and hit 'Next'.
android to ubuntu via bluetooth wifi
  • A pop-up will appear in your Android phone asking to Pair the devices. Also hit the 'Matches' button above.
  • After successful pairing, you can now proceed to share your phone's wifi internet with your Ubuntu desktop. 
  • Start by enabling "Bluetooth tethering" in your Android phone by going to Settings - Wireless & networks - Tethering & portable hotspot - Bluetooth tethering.
android bluetooth tethering in ubuntu
  • Finally, in your Ubuntu, launch Network Connections from wifi dropdown - Edit Connections. You will see a new Bluetooth submenu which you have to double-click and enable. Now, simply use the wifi dropdown menu from the top panel in Ubuntu to select your Phone's network. That's it. 
  • One problem though, connections via Bluetooth tethering will be significantly slower than your original wifi speeds. Still usable, and can be reliable last ditch method to extend your wifi. 

soundnode soundcloud for ubuntu linux

Soundnode is a pretty great Soundcloud client for Linux and Ubuntu. If you frequent soundcloud.com for your music needs, this stand alone app could be of real use. Another app you don't want to miss in the music genre is GPMDP aka Google Play Music Desktop Player, which is also open source like Soundnode. Both are cross-platform as well, different versions for Windows, OS X and Linux are available.

Installing Soundnode in Ubuntu 16.10
Installing Soundnode in most Debian based distros is a straight forward affair. Just copy-paste the following in Terminal. Test machine was running the latest Ubuntu 16.10 "Yaketty Yak".

curl -s https://packagecloud.io/install/repositories/JonasGroeger/soundnode/script.deb.sh | sudo bash
sudo apt-get install soundnode

Done. Hope the installation went smooth. More Linux download options on the app homepage.

soundcloud for ubuntu

Thanks to an anonymous tip from a follower. Strangely enough, even though I have had zero issues installing the app and launching it afterwards, I'm having some trouble playing music, please let me know in the comments if you face similar sort of problems. Also fyi, unlike Soundcloud, Google Play Music is a subscription only service. EDIT: Apparently, there is an API limit, probably the source of my issues with playing music on Soundnode.

"Red Hat is now our backbone. Our business cannot run if Red Hat is not there." That is India's biggest stock exchange's CEO talking. Established in 1875, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) is considered to be Asia’s earliest established stock exchange with an overall market capitalization of $1.43 Trillion in 2016 making it the world's 11th largest. Open Source have had many major wins last year, and this has to be one of the biggest.

bse linux migration india


India's BSE joins the Linux bandwagon

After struggling with inefficient and costly proprietary technologies for over two decades, the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) built a new trading system using open source technology from Red Hat. "As a result, BSE has expanded from 10 million to 400 million orders per day, achieved the fastest trading speed in the world, and reduced its total cost of ownership (TCO) by 90%." This also enabled the stock exchange to venture into the currency markets which it didn't had any presence earlier, and now represents about 50% of that market in India.

india stock exchange fastest after redhat adoption

Since its switch-over to Linux and open source based solutions, the Indian stock exchange has increased trading volume from 10 million orders per day to 400 million per day. With a median trade speed of just 6 microseconds, the trading platform now claims to be the world's fastest of its kind. There were even bigger wins to be made on the cost front. The shift has enabled the Bombay Stock Exchange to reduce its hardware expenses by 66% and lowered total cost of ownership by 90%!

Apparently, the transition to the new system was seamless, with zero downtime, claims Red Hat. The high-ranking BSE officials had only high-praise for the Red Hat support team. BSE also won the prestigious Red Hat Innovation Awards for 2016. You can find a more detailed case study on BSE's success using Red Hat here.

Civilization VI for Linux

It's now official. Linux ports of two blockbuster titles, Hitman and Civilization VI, will arrive on Feb 16th and Feb 9th respectively via Steam for Linux. The Civilization VI is also coming with a special limited time launch price of $47.99 for the base game. 

Sid Meier's Civilization VI is a turn based strategy game developed by Firaxis Games originally released for Microsoft Windows platform late last year. It went on to become the fastest selling game in the Civilization series, more than a million copies were sold in the first few weeks of its release. There were rumors about potential Linux ports from day one. All speculations were laid to rest with the official announcement from Aspyr Media about the imminent arrival of Sid Meier’s Civilization VI for Linux. [Steam]

Minimum System Requirements:
Operating System: Ubuntu 16.04 / SteamOS
CPU Processor: Intel Core i3 530 or AMD A8-3870
CPU Speed: 2.93 GHz
Memory: 6 GB
Hard Disk Space: 15 GB
Video Card (NVIDIA): GeForce 650
Video Card (ATI): Not Supported
Video Card (Intel): Not Supported
Video Memory (VRam): 1 GB

Hitman for Linux port

Hitman is a third-person stealth video game in which the player takes-up the role of a genetically enhanced assassin, travelling to international locations and eliminating contracted targets. Linux port of Hitman: The Complete First Season will arrive on Feb 16th, again via Steam platform. Hitman: The Complete First Season was released on 31 January 2017 for other platforms. [Get it on Steam]

hitman linux


lowRISC is a daring attempt at creating a completely open-source, Linux capable, and multi-core system on a chip (SoC) to promote open hardware systems. The project was co-founded by Rob Mullins, Alex Bradbury (both of whom were actively involved with Raspberry Pi project) and Gavin Ferris of Dreamworks.

lowrisc SoC opensource hardware

lowRISC: Open hardware for the masses!
According to lowRISC co-founder Alex Bradbury, the project is a "not-for-profit effort to produce a completely open source, Linux capable, multi-core SoC." He believes that the "benefits of open source we enjoy in the software world can be applied to the hardware world which will have a huge positive effect on the hardware industry, academia, and wider society," much like the Raspberry Pi project he was earlier involved in.

lowRISC's open-source SoC designs will be based on the 64-bit RISC-V open-source instruction set architecture (ISA) which allows anyone to freely use, design, manufacture and sell RISC-V chips and software. Alex Bradbury of lowRISC is of the opinion that "lowRISC SoC can act something like the 'Linux of the hardware world' - that others can take it as a base for their own SoC designs (startups, academics, larger companies)". But he is pessimistic about hitting the ultra low-cost price-points of Raspberry Pi, given the expected lower volumes.

He goes on to add that "..open source silicon design has much more to offer than just lowering unit costs and increasing profit margins for the existing dominant players. This is why we are established as an independent not-for-profit - we want open source hardware to benefit everyone, and its design to be a truly collaborative process. We have a long way to go, but that's the direction we want to help move things in."

lowRISC is a not-for-profit organisation working closely with the University of Cambridge and the open-source community. You can follow the project here or join the discussion on hacker news here. For more free and opensource (FOSS) related news and articles, go through our open-source feed.

Recommended read: 3 relatively unknown open-source web-browsers for Linux

Enterprise Ubuntu users have more reasons to cheer about. Canonical has partnered with Docker Inc. to provide professional grade support of Docker software to Ubuntu's Enterprise customers. Docker is a premier software container solution renowned for its ease of use and scalability. Docker Inc. already has similar contracts signed with major vendors such as Microsoft and HP.

docker

What is Docker?

Docker is an open-source software that automates the deployment of various Linux applications inside software containers. Docker Inc. is generally considered as the company that brought software containers to the mainstream. Docker makes it easy to run a far greater number of apps on the same old servers without compromising on usability or security.

Unlike VM hypervisors, software containers are very lean on system requirements since they use shared operating systems. Instead of virtualizing entire hardware, containers sit on top of a single Linux instance, for example. As a result, you can have as many as four-to-six times the number of server application instances on the same hardware. Here's a really good article about Docker and software containers in general if you are interested.

The Announcement:

A week ago, Docker and Canonical announced an integrated Commercially Supported (CS) Docker Engine offering on Ubuntu, providing Canonical customers with a single path for support of the Ubuntu operating system and CS Docker Engine in enterprise Docker operations. Apparently, there is a "large, positive overlap" of enterprise users that use Ubuntu and Docker together.

As per the contract, Docker Inc. will provide Ubuntu users with stable, up-to-date Docker releases using Ubuntu's snap packages technology and Canonical in return will provide a two-tier technical support for Docker engine. Ubuntu is already one of the most popular Cloud Linux platforms out there and is now the first among Linux vendors to provide direct, official Docker support.

"Through our partnership, we provide users with more choice by bringing the agility, portability, and security benefits of the Docker CS engine to the larger Ubuntu community," said Nick Stinemates, Vice President, Business Development & Technical Alliances at Docker. "Additionally, Ubuntu customers will be able to take advantage of official Docker support -- a service that is not available from most Linux distributions. Together, we have aligned to make it even easier for organizations to create new efficiencies across the entire software supply chain."
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