We’ve got a few updates (in addition to a new Firefox) that are making Linux users pretty happy. First is an update to the GNOME free desktop software project.
Among the improvements in GNOME 2.24 that came out yesterday is the addition of the Empathy IM client (which I’ve tried and ended up not thrilled with, although some users love it) as well as the upgrade to Ekiga 3.0. They also have a time tracker, an improved Deskbar, new screen resolution controls (that look a lot more user friendly in the screenshot than what came with GNOME 2.22), new sound theme support (yea! we can set up multiple sound themes and change between them much more easily!), more attractive backgrounds, and what I consider the pièce de résistance, tabbed browsing in the file manager!
Of course there’s more goodies in GNOME 2.24, which will be included in Ubuntu Intrepid unless I’m reading something wrong, so to see the entire list check out the release notes.
Buy non-free media codecs in Ubuntu
One of the biggest complaints about Ubuntu is that it doesn’t come with media codecs so you can enjoy your MP3s and DVDs out of the box, but the codecs aren’t free to distribute with the Ubuntu install disks. Windows, Macs and distros of Linux that come with a price tag have the codecs because you’re paying for them. Scott Wegner reminded me of a link in this week’s Ubuntu Weekly News that I had missed. Canonical, Ubuntu’s parent company, has teamed up with Fluendo and Cyberlink to allow Ubuntu users to buy the codecs required to enjoy these types of media.
The codecs are currently available in the Medibuntu repository,and it looks like that option will continue, but the new agreement will allow users to purchase legal copies of the codecs, but I suspect that most users will prefer to use either the Medibuntu repo or the
ubuntu-restricted-extras package than shell out $40 for most of the non-free codecs plus another $50 to be able to enjoy DVDs. What about you guys (and gals)? Will you buy the codecs from the Ubuntu Store or will you continue using the no cost method for getting the codecs?
Ubuntu Intrepid in beta freeze
Ubuntu 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex” is one week away from entering the beta phase of testing and has entered the beta freeze. Basically this means that anything that needs to get added to the first beta of Ubuntu Intrepid has to get approved so they can get the disk images ready for distribution. They have an issue tracker set up so you can keep an eye on the bugs that the release team are watching. I burned a disk of Intrepid Alpha 6, and I’m looking forward to booting up with an image of the first Intrepid beta. I’m not sure when I’m going to start testing Intrepid, and I’m keeping an eye out for a way to test the Intrepid kernel while still using Hardy, just like we had for the Hardy and Gutsy kernels. André Gondim has a report on his testing of Intrepid Alpha 6 that is definitely worth the time to read if you have any thoughts of checking out Intrepid, even if it’s not until after it comes out.
Mackenzie Morgan has a way for you to start checking out the new themes that have been created for Intrepid. It’s super easy to get them, too. Simply add these two lines to your
deb http://ppa.launchpad.net/kwwii/ubuntu hardy main
deb-src http://ppa.launchpad.net/kwwii/ubuntu hardy main
Once that’s done simply update your package list and install
community-themes. You can do it at one time by running this in your Terminal
sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude install community-themes
Then simply open your Appearance window (System > Preferences > Appearance) and check them out. You can also grab updates for the
ubuntu-sounds to check out what they will look like in Ubuntu Intrepid. Just remember, if you decide to use the Hardy sounds you’ll need to disable the new PPAs or you’ll find them getting updated next time Update Manager is run. Personally I’m linking the NewHuman (from the updated
human-theme) and NewWave (in the
community-themes) themes, but I find I prefer the Hardy (or Mac4Lin) sounds, especially for logon and logoff, to the Intrepid sounds. The current sounds have a great African tribal feel to them, but the new ones just seem to remind me of the Windows (and yes, OSX) sounds. I’d prefer Ubuntu have sounds that set it apart. We can always add other sounds.
Of course now’s the time to start planning your Intrepid release party, and Jono Bacon has all the info you may need to start planning a celebration in your area. The Boston party hasn’t been set up yet, but as soon as I hear it’s official I’ll post the info so you can put it on your calendar.