Archive for January, 2010

Community-based Ubuntu manual

Proposed manual cover

At last, an attempt to get information about Ubuntu into an easily accessible format that doesn’t cost loads of money. The Ubuntu Manual Project is “Designed to be as user-friendly and easy to follow as possible, it should provide the first point of reference to any Ubuntu newcomer with lots of information in one easy to access PDF file. Plus, every six months there will be a new revision released to coincide with each new release of Ubuntu.” Good Luck.


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The Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase is an opportunity to show off high quality free culture content in Ubuntu. At the heart of Ubuntu’s ethos is a belief in showcasing free software and free culture, and with each development cycle we open the opportunity for any Free Culture artist to put their work in front of millions of Ubuntu users around the world. Although the space restrictions are tight, and we are limited to how much content we can include, this is an excellent opportunity for artists everywhere.

The deadline for submission is 28th Feb 2010.


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There a number of options for improving the lack of finder options in Ubuntu. Two solutions are immediately obvious. I am not going to tell you which one gets my vote, because obviously DockbarX will have a loyal following as too will Globalmenu. And, yes there are a number of other taskbar and finder/application docking options such as Gimmie and Gnome Main Menu, which deserve their own postings. But here is the first in a toss up in the great Ubuntu Finder Wars.



Simple, clean, unobtrusive solution

Makes other docks redundant

Follows Ubuntu notifications scheme

Windows 7-like taskbar


Windows 7-like taskbar.

Not a true dock replacement



In your face, tell me where I am

Could be the apple finder with a little imagination


In your face, tell me where I am

Bastardisation of the apple finder

Takes up way too much room

Uses text when a simple icon would do

Text font way too large

Notifications not in keeping with Ubuntu

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Engrish Ubuntu - "Tell" is considered bad usage, The third line should rather be Teach or Show.

Ubuntu Tweak (UT) set the benchmark but is quietly fading from neglect. Could it be UT is running out of Tweak? Enter Ailurus,  originally called  “Ubun-student“, and “Ubuntu easy setuper“ and now renamed after a strange Chinese creature. While not as slick in presentation as UT, Ailurus has some pretty amazing hacks up its sleeve. Tweaks, adjustments, and information which seriously outperform its older brother in terms of ingenuity. If you want to live on the wild side, and don’t mind risking it. Ailurus is for you.  In fact in many respects, Ailurus has exceeded UT by releasing often and maintaining enthusiasm in the community when it comes to tricking out your Ubuntu code. So much for the Enhancement category. Is Ailurus seriously headed in the right direction, or just lucky? Will it avoid the pitfall of attempting to compete with Ubuntu Software Center, or replace UT by performing simple tasks that are a hassle to perform in the terminal? If it brings us all innovative and new ppas, granting adjustments like wishes while saving our favourite Ubuntu hacks then great, but who needs to install Virtualbox OSE?

I hope the poor Ailurus instead of becoming a household pet, also  finds a better name. Then again, the creature has a remarkable similarity to the firefox. Time to tweak the animal kingdom by conjouring up a fire-urus? Red Panda Tweak would also do.

Install Ailurus from PPA repository https://launchpad.net/~ailurus/+archive/ppa

Open a terminal window (Applications->Accessories->Terminal). Then copy and pasting the following into your terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ailurus
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ailurus

If “add-apt-repository ppa:ailurus” command cannot be executed, you can install Ailurus as follows:

sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com 9A6FE242

Then edit apt source by:

sudo gedit /etc/apt/sources.list

Please add these lines if you are using Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy). If you are using Ubuntu 8.10, 9.04 or 9.10, please replace “hardy” with “intrepid”, “jaunty” or “karmic”.

deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/ailurus/ppa/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/ailurus/ppa/ubuntu hardy main


UPDATE: Within days of making this posting, Ubuntu Tweak announced a complete overhaul. Support for older distributions would also be dropped enabling faster development. Perhaps UT should be forked to allow older technology in the developing world to survive? Just  thought. Well done UT.

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For many people, Usenet was the Internet before Web 2.0 came along. The real wild wild west of cyberspace. It was always a free space, at least in the alt. heirarchy, where anything could happen. From the mundane to the bizarre, Usenet created a plaform for Freedom of Speech and still is home to many fringe groups, a lot more expansive than just news and binaries. Groups like alt.culture.zippies, for example, seeded the Open Source Movement and started the Linux craze. It is therefore fitting that with Ubuntu, there is the still ample room for developers to  improve on the Usenet experience.

Since Usenet is based up0n subject heirarchies not topic postings, it gives one a far greater overview than a simple rss feed. Subject tags have not managed to propogate in the same way as usenet subject heirarchies. When I want information on a subject I start off with the broader subject catagory and move from there, like a tree. Tags are way too random for research and generating news. It is therefore only a matter of course before we all realise the old usenet heiararchy had an essential ingredient, and subject heirarchies are going to be the basis for the next wave.

Pan offers a typical Linux newsreader

One of the newsreaders available via the repos is the decidely first wave Pan

sudo apt-get install pan

The reader comes prepacked with the gmane server, which is basically a mailing list aggregator. Make sure you fill out your email address in order to get a list of newgroups. If you want the real deal and the full Usenet list then try any one of the public servers available.



Pan is in need of an icon makeover I believe. Just a couple of things to provide the app with personality.

Pan could do with a few modifications

Another option is tin, which is a CLI newsreader which could do with a front-end. Also available via the synaptic.

Despite the prevalence of many supposedly free and public Usenet servers, users in developing countries may still experience difficulty gaining access and posting, especially on local bandwidth. The problems of censorship abound. Furthermore, Pan does not have proxy support and is only maintained by one developer. Time perhaps to update Usenet with an encrypted protocol?

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Ubuntu taking on Japan

There appears to be a plethora of Japanese sites geared towards Ubuntu. Another sign that Ubuntu is taking the world by storm. These covers from Ubuntu Magazine  tell the story. If you are Japanese a good place to start is Ubuntu Blog Network. Inspired by the good work which is happening in the Japanese community I have renamed the Indlovu Links page. It is now called The Ubuntusphere. Check it out.

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Quantz for Ubuntu

A sign that Ubuntu is being taken seriously as a gaming platform is this beta from Gamerizon for Quantz, a slick 3D puzzle game. I love the over the top graphics and sound. The demo allows you to play three levels. Well, at least its DRM free :). Enjoy.





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