Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'desktop'

John Pugh

Chronic Logic’s award winning game, Bridge Construction Set, is officially for sale in the Ubuntu Software Center. In Bridge Construction Set you build a bridge that hopefully does not break, however having a train plunge into the depths below may be fun for some!

You must use your physics knowledge to build a bridge then test your skills by running a test vehicle over the bridge. If it makes it across you know you have constructed a good bridge. With 40 unique levels one can build suspension bridges, draw bridges, and others with many different types of materials. Bridge Construction Set allows you to test your creation with 15 different test vehicles.

Check out the Bridge Construction Set trailer:

Now go buy it from the Software Center today!

Have a game or application you want to host on Ubuntu? Head over to the Developer pages to see how to add your creation! Contact John Pugh (john dot pugh at canonical dot com) for details on selling your application on the Ubuntu Software Center.

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John Pugh

The newest addition to the Ubuntu Software Center is Puzzle Moppet from Garnet Games. The poor little Moppet is lost and all alone in the wilderness. How are you going to help it get out? This interesting game requires you to solve puzzles to help Moppet find it’s way. Puzzle Moppet is a challenging 3D puzzle game featuring a diminutive and apparently mute creature who is lost in a mysterious floating landscape.

With brain melting puzzles you have to guide the Moppet through the vast and eternal void of space, navigating ice blocks, exploding blocks, balloons, elevators and more. Test your brain with over 30 true 3D puzzles ranging from the delightfully docile to the devilishly devious.

The sun blooms as the clouds slowly roll by, a rising sea breeze howls softly as it roams the void. Immerse yourself in the lonely tranquillity of this mysterious other world.

Do you have what it takes to save the Moppet?

Check out the trailer:

Now go buy and install Puzzle Moppet on your Ubuntu desktop!

Save The Moppet!

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Steve George

We added Family Farm to the Software Center last week and I took a few hours (of non-work time!) to have a look at it. Summary is that it’s a fun simulation game for the whole family where your job is to build up your farm.

You start with a small farm and two workers, who carry out all the tasks on the farm. For each season there’s various things you need to accomplish from looking after the animals, clearing land, planting, fishing and harvesting. At the end of the season you sell all your produce and see if you’ve accomplished the goals that were set at the start.

You also have to keep the workers happy by feeding them and making your farm look pretty – all of which costs money. As you progress through the game the number of workers, size of your farm and number of goals you have to achieve increases.

This trailer is a good overview:

Hammerware have done a great job of making the game easy to pick-up and the stories element quickly draws you into trying to improve the farm! If you’re looking for a fun simulation game, or something that the whole family can enjoy together then check out Family Farm.

Family Farm is available through the Ubuntu Software Center, just follow this link. As the game uses 3D Ubuntu users should check if their video drivers are compatible and test first with the demo. If you buy it please review it for the developers in the Software Center, and leave a comment below I’d love to hear what you thought.

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John Bernard

Next week, Canonical will present an executive briefing on developments in Ubuntu Desktop, Cloud and Server. Christopher Kenyon, Canonical EVP, will be sharing developments in Ubuntu, including:

  • Introducing Ubuntu 11.04 with critically acclaimed interfaces and developer APIs
  • How phone manufacturers are delivering converged devices like the Motorola Atrix with Ubuntu
  • What Ubuntu Core means for the home, automotive and device industry
  • Ubuntu Cloud – why an open cloud matching Amazon Web Services APIs is changing the industry

The Ubuntu Showcase will take place at Room 201A (2nd Floor), in the Taipei International Convention Center on May 31st, from 3:00 – 4:30.

Agenda :

  • 3:00 – Welcome and demos
  • 3:30 – Executive briefing
  • 4:00 – Demos and refreshments

Key members of the Canonical team will also be on hand to answer questions.

Please contact john.bernard@canonical.com now to secure your place.

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Steve George

Looking for some arcade fun and action? Well then head over to the Ubuntu Software Center and grab a copy of Steel Storm: Burning Retribution?

It’s a fantastic top-down arcade shooter where you battle against numerous invading aliens in a hovercraft. The Kot-in-action team just released the new episode called Burning Retribution, and it’s available in the Software Center now for 9.99 USD – that’s 10% off the normal price.

The new episode has 25 campaign missions as you fight to defend your planet against alien invaders. With more destructive weapons, more bosses, a new sound track and more things to blow up – in other words a whole pile of carnage and fun! If that’s not enough there’s an online mode and you can also create your own missions with a collaborative mission editor.

Here’s the teaser video:

There’s a hands-on review on OMG Ubuntu and don’t forget to add your own review in the Software Center for every Ubuntu user to see. So, hurry on over to the Software Center where you can buy it for 10% off the normal price for the next week!

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John Bernard

Canonical can give details of more machines coming online from Lenovo in the Chinese consumer market.

There are now over 30 Lenovo ThinkPads certified with Ubuntu, with many of these being completed in the first half of 2011. The great work with Lenovo continues. .

Click here to access the link for the latest certified hardware.

The ThinkPads, pre-installed with Ubuntu 10.10 on Intel and AMD processors are available to purchase today in China. The model list includes the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 14, the latest consumer and small business-oriented ThinkPad from Lenovo.

Having hardware certified through Canonical provides consumers and corporate user the assurance of a high-quality, user-friendly, maintainable operating system on every device. The key benefits of combining Ubuntu with Lenovo Thinkpads is the hassle free operation and a fast reliable performance.

See Lenovo’s link for Linux certified hardware online here. You can currently purchase a device in China from a Lenovo store directly or online from 360buy.com.

Contact oem@canonical.com to find out more about certifying and pre-installing devices with Ubuntu.

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Inayaili León

A fresh new look for Ubuntu.com

Natty Narwhal isn’t the only thing new today in Ubuntu. Along with it, and as you may have already noticed, we have updated some areas of the Ubuntu website, including a fresh new homepage.

What’s new?

This overhaul of the website focuses on improving and refining the experience for users who are new to Ubuntu and who we want to entice and convert. We have taken a better look at how Ubuntu’s most important features and characteristics were (or weren’t, in some cases) being shown, and whether visitors’ most important questions were being answered.

Several things have changed. Firstly, rather than having separate sections for Desktop and Netbook (and as a consequence of the move towards Unity), we have created a single section called, simply, Ubuntu. We have also added a direct link from the main navigation area to a new Download section, making the different download options more visible.

Under the new Ubuntu section, Ubuntu’s features are given the spotlight. Rather than having a long list of screengrabs as before, various tabs take you through a more detailed tour of the most exciting and useful features.

The Web browsing features page
The Web browsing features page

In the new What’s new? section you can see what has changed from previous versions of Ubuntu.

Interactive tooltips in the What’s new? page
Interactive tooltips in the What’s new? page

The new homepage is cleaner, more focused and it shows off some of Ubuntu’s features from the outset. The new design also solves one of the biggest performance issues the previous version suffered from: very large file sizes, which rendered the page too slow to load.

Ubuntu website’s new homepage
Ubuntu website’s new homepage

These larger updates to the site started earlier this year. In March, the Business section (which was previously divided in two sections, Server and Cloud) underwent a major restructuring. The main objective was to make it easier for businesses to find out about all that Ubuntu, and Canonical, have to offer them.

The new Business section
The new Business section

Why the change?

These updates didn’t just pop up from nowhere. Last December, we carried out intensive user research to see how the website was performing. During these sessions, we interviewed users of different platforms and with different backgrounds. We analysed their paths through the websites, we heard their questions, took note of their concerns and observed their “awe moments”.

The findings from our analysis showed that although users found Ubuntu compelling, they were having difficulty finding answers to their questions on the Ubuntu website, and some of the most interesting features didn’t have the prominence they deserved.

The findings analysis phase
The findings analysis phase

This happened not only for end users, but also for business users, hence the update of both sections.

Whilst the overhaul is visible in both the design and structure of the website, we have also been trying to (slowly) improve what’s hidden behind the scenes.

We (as Canonical’s Design and Web Team) are conscious of the fact that both the markup and the code behind the website can be greatly improved. Our ultimate goal is to make the code that powers Ubuntu’s website as good as Ubuntu itself. We want it to be indicative of our standards.

This will make the website more easy to maintain and it will reflect on how accessible it is (which is a consideration that we’re striving to keep present throughout the entire process, not only in the coding phases of the project).

Steps in the right direction

To create these new pages, we have compartmentalised the new code so that we could experiment with creating better code. Our goal is for the new code to be more accessible, more flexible, more modular, less convoluted, less redundant, more performant and more robust. Our markup can be cleaner and more semantic.

One of our main concerns regarding the current website’s design and code is its lack of accessibility at some points. For this matter, we spoke directly with the Ubuntu Accessibility team to register their worries and suggestions. The main items that transpired from this session were:

  • Some colour combinations don’t provide enough contrast between background and foreground
  • Text should be easier to resize, using relative units (such as ems) rather than absolute ones (like pixels)
  • The copy should be clear and concise
  • Some of the text is too small
  • There are visibility issues in links and navigation

This chat was helpful as it helped to consolidate the issues we were aware of, surface other problems and most importantly provide us with a real world view of how these can disrupt users.

We have begun addressing some of these in the new designs and will continue to do so in the coming months.

What the future holds

You can expect more and better updates to ubuntu.com within the next few months.

The main focus of our work will be making the website more accessible and easier to navigate by following current web standards and bringing it up to the Ubuntu and Canonical standard of quality; the code should be easier to manage, the content easier to update, and the message clear.

We’re confident we’re heading in the right direction. We’d love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and comments.

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Gerry Carr

One of the benefits of the direction that’s been taken with the next release of Ubuntu is that there is no longer a need for a separate netbook edition. The introduction of the new shell for Ubuntu means that we have a user interface that works equally well whatever the form factor of the PC. And the underlying technology works on a range of architectures including those common in netbook, notebooks, desktops or whatever you choose to run it on. Hence the need for a separate version for netbooks is removed.

To be clear, this is the opposite of us withdrawing from the netbook market. In fact looking at the download figures on ubuntu.com interest in netbooks is not only thriving but booming. It’s us recognising that the market has moved on and celebrating that separate images are no longer a requirement as the much anticipated convergence of devices moves closer.

A return to the Ubuntu name

Which actually got us thinking about our naming conventions in totality. ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition’ arose in 2005 as a response to the launch of Ubuntu Server Edition and our desire to distinguish between the two. But desktops are no longer the pre-eminent client platform. And actually naming the the ‘edition’ after any target technology is going to have us chasing the trend. Also we were tying ourselves to some ungainly product titles – Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Server Edition for instance. User feedback also told us that people thought the edition was not for them as they had a laptop and spent time looking for a ‘Laptop Edition’.

So we are going back to our roots. From 11.04 the core product that you run on your PC will be simply, Ubuntu. Therefore the next release will be Ubuntu 11.04 and you can run that, my friend, on anything you like from a netbook to a notebook to a desktop. Ubuntu Server will be maintained as a separate product of course and named simply, Ubuntu Server 11.04.

We think this will make things simpler. When we mean Ubuntu for notebooks we will say just that rather than the more confusing, ‘Ubuntu Desktop Edition for notebooks’. We are retaining the concept of ‘remixes’ for community projects and the naming convention therein. And we would love to hear what you think.

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Nick Barcet

In the spring of 2010, members of the Ubuntu development team worked with Dell to build and test OpenManage 6.3 for Ubuntu. Several of our engineers took several weeks working with Dell Linux engineers to build out a process for ensuring:
- all of the dependencies were met,
- helped get the Dell Linux team up to speed on the Ubuntu packaging policy,
- provided assistance during the build process,
- and reviewed the packages when they were built.
This effort resulted in the release in late July 2010 of Dell OpenManage 6.3 for Ubuntu.

Since last summer, The Dell Linux team continues to work on improvements to OpenManage and subsequently released both a 64 bit and 32 bit version of the Dell OpenManage 6.4 release for Ubuntu in mid January 2011. For more information on this release see Prudhvi Tella’s blog entry.If you are using Dell Poweredge Servers, you can find the latest deb from Dell’s Community Linux repository using these instructions .

Finally, if you are using Dell Poweredge Servers and Ubuntu, please reach out to your Dell sales representative and insist on receiving proper support for Ubuntu with Dell OpenManage. Customer feedback directly to the manufacturer is the best way to get Ubuntu properly represented.

Published on behalf on John Pugh, Software Partner Manager

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Mark Murphy

The well-earned accolade that it ‘just works’ is one of the reasons that Ubuntu has been propelled to the position of the most widely shipped and installed Linux desktop. Behind that accolade are an army of community and professional developers working closely towards the goal of offering a superb quality desktop experience.

For many planners and users in the corporate enterprise the mark of quality is that products are fully tested and then certified. Only when fully backed and supported by Canonical would they consider use within their companies. You can find the growing list of these certified devices at

http://webapps.ubuntu.com/certification

Over the past few years Canonical has been working closely with a number of PC vendors to evaluate, test and certify a range of products in the desktop arena. More recently we’ve been closely collaborating with HP to certify a wide range of desktop products. Today we have published a representative range of 11 certified desktop models, with more to come over the next few weeks and months. You can see the current list here

http://webapps.ubuntu.com/certification/make/HP/desktops/

Starting with these 11 desktop models is a great step and I would like to thank the team at HP for their cooperation, at the same time calling out the work of our unsung heroes in Victor Palau’s Canonical certification team.

Mark Murphy, Global Alliances Director

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Gerry Carr

One of the most exciting things about the Ubuntu 10.10 release has been the delivery of the Unity ‘shell’ in Ubuntu Netbook Edition. For the uninitiated,  this delivers a very different user experience to that in the main desktop edition. For a start the icons of the most popular applications are permanently featured on the left-hand side of the screen. This borrows more from the smartphone interfaces but is adapted for use on, in this case, netbooks. So there remains a workspace where users still have sufficient room to watch video, edit photos, create documents, play games, read the web, write emails – all of the usual tasks we use a computer for, day to day.

Everything is optimised however for the more limited screen space. It is sub-optimal for instance to simply port an interface from the full-screen world, shrink it and expect it to be a great experience. Unity does away with the bottom bar for example that Windows, Ubuntu and Mac users will be used to. This is actually a radical step, but in my experience at least, it takes no time at all to forget that there ever was a bottom bar. The result is considerably more ‘vertical space’ for to use  – again maximising the useful area on limited screen sizes.

One of the coolest things though is one that will be experienced by the fewest people at this point – touch. Unity is fully touch-enabled – those big icons are screaming out to have a digit poked at them. But as ever, the boys in the lab, or in this case Duncan McGregor‘s  multi-touch team have gone a step further and created a multi-touch ‘gesture’ library. This allows finger combinations to do groovy things like expand and reduce windows, pull up multiple windows in one workspace, and call up the ‘dash’ automatically. These are in 10.10. In 11.04 we will see a lot more.

Because there are a very limited number of touch-enabled devices out there at present, we thought we would create a video to show some of the features. You can see it below. It has turned out rather nicely even with the clumsy paws.

Gerry Carr, Platform Marketing, Canonical

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Larry Poon

Would you like to find out about how Ubuntu is being deployed in the cloud space? Would you like to see how KnowledgeTree uses Ubuntu for its SaaS offering? If so, please join KnowledgeTree and Canonical on Wednesday 8 September 2010 at 11 am Pacific (2 pm Eastern) for a joint webinar.

Enjoy an informative and thought provoking talk from Evan Person, Director of Product for KnowledgeTree and Renen Watermeyer, Director of Engineering for KnowledgeTree where they will discuss:

  • The criteria KnowledgeTree considered when choosing an OS for the cloud
  • How Ubuntu met those criteria and was subsequently selected
  • How using Ubuntu contributed to the way the service was built
  • Lessons learned in the process of developing on Ubuntu for the cloud

Register to attend this informative event.

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Ara Pulido

A couple of weeks ago we launched the Desktop Testing Program. You can read more about it in the original announcement but, basically, we have some infrastructure to track test results for desktop applications, a wiki that stores the testcases description and a large community willing to test every Ubuntu milestone.

The Alpha 3 testing cycle went very well, but we still need more testcases to make the Beta testing cycle event better.

Mathieu Trudel-Lapierre, one of the Network Manager upstream developers, stepped ahead and wrote some testcases for Network Manager. He, as an upstream, wanted Network Manager to be part of the testing program, to have the opportunity to get test results every Ubuntu milestone. His tests will be part of the Desktop Testing Program starting on Maverick Beta.

If you are an upstream (or would like to collaborate somehow with your favourite upstream project), you can review the available tests in our testcases wiki, and, if the application is already there, make sure that the tests still apply and write more to cover new features. If your application is not there, just create a new page and start adding new testcases. In both cases you can follow our syntax guidelines.

I think this is a great opportunity for upstreams to have their project tested on a regular basis by a great community, with results they can browse, in a repeatable way. I just hope more upstreams could know about it. If only this blog was syndicated in Planet Gnome


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Duncan McGreggor

Canonical is pleased to announce the release of uTouch 1.0, Ubuntu’s multi-touch and gesture stack. With Ubuntu 10.10 (the Maverick Meerkat), users and developers will have an end-to-end touch-screen framework — from the kernel all the way through to applications. Our multi-touch team has worked closely with the Linux kernel and X.org communities to improve drivers, add support for missing features, and participate in the touch advances being made in open source world. To complete the stack, we’ve created an open source gesture recognition engine and defined a gesture API that provides a means for applications to obtain and use gesture events from the uTouch gesture engine.

Our multi-touch work began in Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, when we worked to get additional touch hardware supported in the Linux kernel, particularly the Dell XT2, HP tx2 tablets and the Lenovo T410s laptops. With that in place, and active development in X well under way, we reviewed our options for gesture recognition in Linux. The Maverick cycle has seen us produce several prototypes for gesture recognition software and the Ubuntu archives now include the results of that effort.

The world’s expectations of software experience are being raised by advances in mobile computing. We are bringing that revolution to the Linux desktop: for window management and applications. Though our work at the application level has only just started, we are certain that multi-touch and gestures will be central to the way we use Linux applications in future.

The success of touch in applications depends on several key factors:

  • toolkit integration of gesture APIs
  • touch support for legacy applications
  • designing new applications for finger-based interactions

Work has begun on all three fronts in Ubuntu, and we expect it to remain an area of active interest over the next few releases up to 12.04 LTS.

Ubuntu is the fruit of collaboration across the huge Ubuntu community, and also the amazing work of many other communities that form around individual projects and initiatives like Debian. The uTouch framework enables work to begin across many of those communities to make touch a first-class interaction model in open source desktop and mobile software.

Existing contributions in other projects have provided fertile ground for uTouch. To name just a few:

  • Stéphane Chatty at ENAC has lead much multi-touch hardware support in the kernel
  • Peter Hutterer at Red Hat defined multi-pointer X and proposed a multi-touch protocol for a future version of X
  • Carlos Garnacho of the GNOME community has done multi-touch work in X and GTK

We’re look forward to continued collaboration, ensuring that Linux remains the preferred platform for people building cutting-edge devices and software.

Canonical is working with manufacturers of touch-enabled products and those of their underlying technology in order to bring innovations in user experience to a broader audience. Our aim is to bring the natural, tactile experience of the world to the desktop, window manager, and applications you value — all the software that you depend upon to get things done and have fun. Touch will be part of the Ubuntu Netbook, Desktop and Light products from 10.10 and beyond.

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imlad

With all the recent focus on the cloud, one might (not quite) forget the pervasiveness of the Ubuntu Desktop.   Last week we ran two sessions of a webinar about migrating your desktop to Ubuntu.  We had excellent registration and attendance levels (always pleasing to the heart of a marketer), but even more importantly, I got a distinct sense of readiness from the audience – readiness to move to Ubuntu (as well as being informed that indeed many users already have).

For curious souls, you can check out the recordings of the webinar for the morning session.

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Gerry Carr

Canonical over the last four years or so has brought businesses a growing range of services and software tools to help them make better use of the Ubuntu platform. Many of these services, such as Landscape systems management and technical support, have proven valuable for companies that want to more easily manage and maintain Ubuntu in their business.

Rather than having to decide which tools or services are useful, we decided to make things simple by bringing together all the necessary tools and services into a single offering, Ubuntu Advantage.

Ubuntu Advantage has four service components:

* systems management

* enterprise technical support

* legal assurance

* access to knowledge base

At Canonical, we believe these are they key service areas that help enterprises make successful use of Ubuntu in their business. As new technology features and capabilities are incorporated into the Ubuntu platform, the Ubuntu Advantage service offering will also grow to support those new platform capabilities.

The systems management service category offers Canonical’s Landscape systems management and monitoring tool. Within any enterprise it is crucial for IT departments to have the necessary systems management tool to avoid having to spend copious amounts of time managing and maintaining systems with patches and security upgrades. Although, these tasks are vital for enterprise systems to remain safe, they can also be tedious and unnecessarily time consuming without the right tools. The package management and automation features of Landscape help to remove much of this manual work.

Ubuntu Advantage includes enterprise-level technical support for the desktop and server to give businesses direct backing from the source of Ubuntu, Canonical. This is a valuable service because businesses can deploy Ubuntu with a greater sense of security; should they run into any problems, they have the support from the organisation which released it.

Our aim is to provide comprehensive support, but we also want to give customers flexibility with the type of service they receive as we recognise that different machines will run different workloads and need different levels of support. On the server there are three options ranging from support for basic server workloads to the most complex setups:

* Essential Server – to cover common workloads such as file and print serving

* Standard Server – for more advanced business needs like server virtualisation and integration into existing Windows networks

* Advanced Server – to cover complex configurations such as high-availability and clustering

On the desktop there were two main usage types we want to cover, general business use and developer use:

* Standard Desktop – covers general end users using standard business applications such as email, office suites and web browsing

* Advanced Desktop – covers developers that have more complex desktop configurations, such as desktop virtualisation, and use advanced developer tools

A major aim of Ubuntu Advantage is to ease the adoption of Ubuntu by providing quick and easy access to a definitive answers. The online Knowledge Base gives customers a central repository from which they can quickly reference at any time definitive guides on how to resolve common issues or information about best practices deployments. Canonical’s support engineers create the content in the knowledge base keeping it accurate and up-to-date on the latest releases.

It’s also crucial that staff using Ubuntu feel comfortable with it, because the more confident they feel the more they can take advantage of Ubuntu’s many features and the fewer problems they will come across. So we also included training credits in Ubuntu Advantage. These can be redeemed to train end users on how to make the most of Ubuntu Desktop for their daily job, or they can be redeemed for system administrator training to help them more easily deploy and manage Ubuntu systems.

We know it is important for many organisations to have legal assurance to enable the adoption of an open source platform, which is why we have also included our legal assurance programme, Ubuntu Assurance, with all Ubuntu Advantage service options.

Ubuntu Advantage provides simplicity and an easier way for businesses to purchase the necessary tools and services to manage, support and use their Ubuntu platform more effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, it saves them precious time and money that can be spent elsewhere in their businesses. Initial reception has been very positive and we look forward to getting more feedback on the new services as users become familiar with them and hopefully see the value in them.

The Ubuntu Advantage website is live at: visit http://bit.ly/cOasJ3

Fern Ho, Ubuntu Advantage Product Manager

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Gerry Carr

A few months ago we took on the challenge of building a version of Ubuntu for the dual-boot, instant-on market. We wanted to be surfing the web in under 10 seconds, and give people a fantastic web experience. We also wanted it to be possible to upgrade from that limited usage model to a full desktop.

The fruit of that R&D is both a new desktop experience codebase, called Unity, and a range of Light versions of Ubuntu, both netbook and desktop, that are optimised for dual-boot scenarios.

The dual-boot, web-focused use case is sufficiently different from general-purpose desktop usage to warrant a fresh look at the way the desktop is configured. We spent quite a bit of time analyzing screenshots of a couple of hundred different desktop configurations from the current Ubuntu and Kubuntu user base, to see what people used most. We also identified the things that are NOT needed in lightweight dual-boot instant-on offerings. That provided us both with a list of things to focus on and make rich, and a list of things we could leave out.

Instant-on products are generally used in a stateless fashion. These are “get me to the web asap” environments, with no need of heavy local file management. If there is content there, it would be best to think of it as “cloud like” and synchronize it with the local Windows environment, with cloud services and other devices. They are also not environments where people would naturally expect to use a wide range of applications: the web is the key, and there may be a few complementary capabilities like media playback, messaging, games, and the ability to connect to local devices like printers and cameras and pluggable media.

Unity: a lightweight netbook interface

There are several driving forces behind the result.

The desktop screenshots we studied showed that people typically have between 3 and 10 launchers on their panels, for rapid access to key applications. We want to preserve that sense of having a few favorite applications that are instantly accessible. Rather than making it equally easy to access any installed application, we assume that almost everybody will run one of a few apps, and they need to switch between those apps and any others which might be running, very easily.

We focused on maximising screen real estate for content. In particular, we focused on maximising the available vertical pixels for web browsing. Netbooks have screens which are wide, but shallow. Notebooks in general are moving to wide screen formats. So vertical space is more precious than horizontal space.

We also want to embrace touch as a first class input. We want people to be able to launch and switch between applications using touch, so the launcher must be finger friendly.

Those constraints and values lead us to a new shape for the desktop, which we will adopt in Ubuntu’s Netbook Edition for 10.10 and beyond.

First, we want to move the bottom panel to the left of the screen, and devote that to launching and switching between applications. That frees up vertical space for web content, at the cost of horizontal space, which is cheaper in a widescreen world. In Ubuntu today the bottom panel also presents the Trash and Show Desktop options, neither of which is relevant in a stateless instant-on environment.

Second, we’ll expand that left-hand launcher panel so that it is touch-friendly. With relatively few applications required for instant-on environments, we can afford to be more generous with the icon size there. The Unity launcher will show what’s running, and support fast switching and drag-and-drop between applications.

Third, we will make the top panel smarter. We’ve already talked about adopting a single global menu, which would be rendered by the panel in this case. If we can also manage to fit the window title and controls into that panel, we will have achieved very significant space saving for the case where someone is focused on a single application at a time, and especially for a web browser.

We end up with a configuration like this:

Unity Screenshot

Unity Screenshot

The launcher and panel that we developed in response to this challenge are components of Unity. They are now in a state where they can be tested widely, and where we can use that testing to shape their evolution going forward. A development milestone of Unity is available today in a PPA, with development branches on Launchpad, and I’d very much like to get feedback from people trying it out on a netbook, or even a laptop with a wide screen. Unity is aimed at full screen applications and, as I described above, doesn’t really support traditional file management. But it’s worth a spin, and it’s very easy to try out if you have Ubuntu 10.04 LTS installed already.

Ubuntu Light

Instant-on, dual boot installations are a new frontier for us. Over the past two years we have made great leaps forward as a first class option for PC OEM’s, who today ship millions of PC’s around the world with Ubuntu pre-installed. But traditionally, it’s been an “either/or” proposition – either Windows in markets that prefer it, or Ubuntu in markets that don’t. The dual-boot opportunity gives us the chance to put a free software foot forward even in markets where people use Windows as a matter of course.

And it looks beautiful:

Ubuntu Light, showing the Unity launcher and panel

Ubuntu Light Screenshot

In those cases, Ubuntu Netbook Light, or Ubuntu Desktop Light, will give OEM’s the ability to differentiate themselves with fast-booting Linux offerings that are familiar to Ubuntu users and easy to use for new users, safe for web browsing in unprotected environments like airports and hotels, focused on doing that job very well, but upgradeable with a huge list of applications, on demand. The Light versions will also benefit from the huge amount of work done on every Ubuntu release to keep it maintained – instant-on environments need just as much protection as everyday desktops, and Ubuntu has a deep commitment to getting that right.

The Ubuntu Light range is available to OEM’s today. Each image will be hand-crafted to boot fastest on that specific hardware, the application load reduced to the minimum, and it comes with tools for Windows which assist in the management of the dual-boot experience. Initially, the focus is on the Netbook Light version based on Unity, but in future we expect to do a Light version of the desktop, too.

Given the requirement to customise the Light versions for specific hardware, there won’t be a general-purpose downloadable image of Ubuntu Light on ubuntu.com.

Evolving Unity for Ubuntu Netbook Edition 10.10

Unity exists today, and is great for the minimalist, stateless configurations that suit a dual-boot environment. But in order embrace it for our Netbook UI, we’ll need to design some new capabilities, and implement them during this cycle.

Those design conversations are taking place this week at UDS, just outside Brussels in Belgium. If you can’t be there in person, and are interested in the design challenges Unity presents for the netbook form factor, check out the conference schedule and participate in the discussion virtually.

The two primary pieces we need to put in place are:

  • Support for many more applications, and adding / removing applications. Instant-on environments are locked down, while netbook environments should support anybody’s applications, not just those favored in the Launcher.
  • Support for file management, necessary for an environment that will be the primary working space for the user rather than an occasional web-focused stopover.

We have an initial starting point for the design, called the Dash, which presents files and applications as an overlay. The inspiration for the Dash comes from consoles and devices, which use full-screen, media-rich presentation. We want the Dash to feel device-like, and use the capabilities of modern hardware.

The Unity Dash, showing the Applications Place

The Unity Dash, showing the Applications Place

The instant-on requirements and constraints proved very useful in shaping our thinking, but the canvas is still blank for the more general, netbook use case. Unity gives us the chance to do something profoundly new and more useful, taking advantage of ideas that have emerged in computing from the console to the handheld.

Relationship to Gnome Shell

Unity and Gnome Shell are complementary for the Gnome Project. While Gnome Shell presents an expansive view of how people work in complex environments with multiple simultaneous activities, Unity is designed to address the other end of the spectrum, where people are focused on doing one thing at any given time.

Unity does embrace the key technologies of Gnome 3: Mutter, for window management, and Zeitgeist will be an anchor component of our file management approach. The interface itself is built in Clutter.

The design seed of Unity was in place before Gnome Shell, and we decided to build on that for the instant-on work rather than adopt Gnome Shell because most of the devices we expect to ship Ubuntu Light on are netbooks. In any event, Unity represents the next step for the Ubuntu Netbook UI, optimised for small screens.

The Ubuntu Netbook interface is popular with Gnome users and we’re fortunate to be working inside an open ecosystem that encourages that level of diversity. As a result, Gnome has offerings for mobile, netbook and desktop form factors. Gnome is in the lucky position of having multiple vendors participating and solving different challenges independently. That makes Gnome stronger.

Relationship to FreeDesktop and KDE

Unity complies with freedesktop.org standards, and is helping to shape them, too. We would like KDE applications to feel welcome on a Unity-based netbook. We’re using the Ayatana indicators in the panel, so KDE applications which use AppIndicators will Just Work. And to the extent that those applications take advantage of the Messaging Menu, Sound Indicator and Me Menu, they will be fully integrated into the Unity environment. We often get asked by OEM’s how they can integrate KDE applications into their custom builds of Ubuntu, and the common frameworks of freedesktop.org greatly facilitate doing so in a smooth fashion.

Looking forward to the Maverick Meerkat

It will be an intense cycle, if we want to get all of these pieces in line. But we think it’s achievable: the new launcher, the new panel, the new implementation of the global menu and an array of indicators. Things have accelerated greatly during Lucid so if we continue at this pace, it should all come together. Here’s to a great summer of code.

Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical

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Gerry Carr

We are pleased to announce the launch of the brand new Ubuntu single sign on service.  The goal of this service is to provide a single, central login service for all Ubuntu-related sites, thus making it more convenient for Ubuntu users and community members to access information, communicate, and contribute.  This service will replace the existing Launchpad login service that is currently in use for many Ubuntu-related sites, although existing Launchpad accounts will continue to work in the new service.

Over the next few months we will be moving all of the Ubuntu and Canonical related sites that currently use the Launchpad service to Ubuntu single sign on, starting with sites we manage directly and then working with community site owners to move the community-managed sites.

Because of the number of existing Ubuntu users who have created accounts in Launchpad for the purpose of logging into other sites, we have set the Ubuntu and Launchpad services to share account data during the transition.  Launchpad is in the process of enabling users to log in with an Ubuntu account and, once completed, this sharing will be removed.  This does mean that you will be able to log into both services with the same credentials for a while.  We realise this is something internet users have been encouraged to not do but it is a necessary side-effect of the transition.  Doing this ensures you won’t lose access to services you’ve purchased from us in the past or your account histories in the sites you’ve previously visited, as long as you use your existing Launchpad credentials on Ubuntu single sign on.

Ubuntu single sign on is built on OpenID so, once all the sites we know about have moved over, we will also be opening up the OpenID service to enable you to log in to any site which accepts standard OpenIDs.

Some questions we think you may have for us:

Why replace the Launchpad login service?

The Launchpad login service has served us well for several years but Launchpad is not a familiar brand for many Ubuntu users.  As Ubuntu grows, we’ll see more and more users who don’t understand the connection between Launchpad and Ubuntu and the new Ubuntu login service is intended to overcome this problem.  It will also enable us to develop features which are more oriented to Ubuntu users.

How does the new service differ from the old one?

For now, not much apart from the appearance of the site.  We have many plans for great new features, however, and hope to roll these out once the service is established.  If you have ideas for other features you’d like to see in Ubuntu single sign on, we’d love to hear about them.

Is the new service Open Source?

No, it’s not.  It is, however, built and hosted on open source technologies (python, django, apache and postgres amongst others).

I have a problem with the new service.  Where can I get help?

We have an email support channel.  You can submit your support requests using our support form.  If you have found a bug, please take a few minutes to tell us about it on Launchpad.

We’re sure you have more questions.  Please submit them and we’ll do our best to respond to them all.

Stuart Metcalfe, Infrastructure Systems Development, Canonical

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daniel.dolinov

Large, complex or mission critical IT environments often have multi-layered support problems. A clear message from our corporate customers has been that when it comes to support it’s vital to have access to experts who are familiar with their environment: there’s no time to bring a new support engineer up to speed, customers need someone who has intimate knowledge of their technology and situation.

We’ve created the Premium Service Engineer (PSE) option to address this need. Each PSE is an expert technical engineer who provides a personalised level of service to their named accounts. Each PSE has deep knowledge of the Ubuntu platform aligned with experience managing Ubuntu in complex, heterogeneous IT environments.

Prevention is always better than cure, so the role of the PSE is to become a virtual member of the customer’s IT team. This approach allows the customer to take advantage of the PSE service for expert advice on any new projects involving Ubuntu technologies. Meaning that the customer has someone available to them who can help with existing systems, deployments and migrations.

If issues do arise, the PSE provides immediate support, based on a thorough understanding of their customer’s business and IT environment. Should the issue need to be escalated, the PSE will work directly with the Ubuntu foundation team to provide a speedy resolution.

We feel strongly that with the PSE service, we are addressing the support needs of our largest and most demanding Ubuntu deployments. If you’d like to know more have a look at the PSE (http://www.ubuntu.com/support/services/pse) service area.

Fern Ho, Product Manager, Canonical Corporate Services.

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johnpugh

Next week (31 August through 3 September) VMorld 2009 kicks off in San Francisco at the Moscone Center. For the second year, Canonical has a booth to demonstrate Ubuntu’s virtualization and cloud computing capabilities.

Last year VMWorld 2008 was in sunny Las Vegas. We talked to thousands of people throughout the show, and only found a handful who hadn’t used Ubuntu – don’t worry we sent every one away with a free CD so they could put that right! It was a great show with lots of interest in Ubuntu following on from the 8.04 LTS release, and our virtualization solution.

We expect the 2009 show to be just as much fun. Ubuntu has been on the top of the VMWare charts as a base OS for many virtual machine images, so we hope that the new virtualization features coming in 9.10 will be well received. In 9.04 we previewed Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) our private or on-premises cloud. This gives anyone who has their own servers the ability to set-up a cloud similar to Amazon’s EC2.

We’ll be presenting a talk for enterprises on how cloud computing can help them at the Solution Exchange Theatre on Wednesday 2nd September at 11:50 am. Entitled “The Clear Path to a Cloudy Enterprise”, it will be given by John Pugh, one of Canonical’s Partner Managers. If you would like to hear about the future of cloud computing, how open source offers a real alternative, and how Ubuntu can be used in this scenario then this talk should be informative and fun.

If you are going to be at VMWorld then please come along to the Canonical booth (#2403) and say hello to us. We would love to talk to you about Ubuntu, how you’re using it, and how you can get more from it – see you
in San Francisco!

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